NPR logo The Danger Olympics

The Danger Olympics

Here in Washington, we're all on ice (thick and thin). After a massive snowstorm exploded over the mid-Atlantic this weekend, just walking around here has become a sport. Which is why this particular article from the WSJ, about the approaching Winter Olympic Games, really spoke to me (and my sore shins).

When you set aside the carefully honed image of wholesomeness, there's one undeniable fact about the Winter Olympics. It's really dangerous.

From speedskating and hockey to bobsled, 10 of the 15 events at next month's Winter Games in Vancouver will require participants to wear helmets, which is double the number in the Summer games. Every event has a perilous aspect, whether it's a hard surface, sharp blades, mortifying speeds, dizzying airborne maneuvers or—in the case of biathlon—shooting at things with a gun while wearing skis.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, not really. I read on about torn ligaments and various dislocations — and had mixed feelings when I found that the Vancouver games have a record number of of athletes who have suffered a catastrophic injury in their sport before. Apparently rehabilitation is a different game than it used to be — it's more of a "get back on the horse" attitude. It's a pretty slippery horse, though. Oh, and one more thing. There are several new sports this season: like head-to-head snowboard and ski racing. They all come with a high likelihood of collisions.

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