Primitive Biathlon Makes a Comeback in Vermont Athletes in Vermont are returning to the biathlons of their ancestors. Essayist Tim Brookes reflects on what other old winter sports athletes may turn to.
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Primitive Biathlon Makes a Comeback in Vermont

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Primitive Biathlon Makes a Comeback in Vermont

Primitive Biathlon Makes a Comeback in Vermont

Primitive Biathlon Makes a Comeback in Vermont

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/87837150/87837114" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Athletes in Vermont are returning to the biathlons of their ancestors. Essayist Tim Brookes reflects on what other old winter sports athletes may turn to.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

The biathlon is a very old sport, and in Vermont athletes are going back to the way our ancestors used to compete. Essayist Tim Brookes imagines what other sports may follow.

Mr. TIM BROOKES (Essayist): Modern biathlon is a typical high-tech sport. Contestants zip along on cutting edge skis, stop and shoot at targets with high-powered rifles. The primitive version, which debuted recently in Vermont, involves snow shoes and black powder muzzle loaders.

Vermont is, of course, the ideal state for a primitive sport, given that we already have rugby - based on a game played by the Kelts using the severed heads of enemy captives - yoga - it's origins lost in the midst of time - and cricket - a sport so slow it clearly predates time itself.

Just think where this new old trend could lead in just a year or two.

Hi, welcome back to ESPN XVII, your primitive sports channel. First the latest results. More than 75 horses and their riders took part in the Paul Revere steeplechase from the Chelsea Green Church to Bethel. The winner was Steve Craig who declined to speak to us because after all that shouting about the British, he's lost his voice.

In primitive sports news now, the Vermont Headmasters Association has decided that high school football will be played this season in leather helmets. The Buels Gore) Golf Club is ruling that all members must wear tamashanters(ph) and Plus-Fours, though lady members may play in kilts. And this year for the first time the Green Mountain Marathon will be run in authentic reproduction Greek sandals. Ouch.

Now onto today's coverage. In a half an hour we'll be going live to Plymouth, Vermont, where 218 boats have signed up for the John Wesley Powell Float-a-thon down the Black River. And later, we are looking forward to a fine afternoon of cheese rolling and haggis tossing.

But the big event of the day, the event of a lifetime, is an ESPN XVII exclusive. For the first time in 25,000 years - thanks to cutting edge biotechnology - mammoth hunting returns to Vermont. Yes, we're bringing you stab-by-stab coverage of the first annual Hunger Mountain Mammoth Hunt brought to you by Future Biotech Corp., bringing the powers back to the present. And by St. Johnsbury(ph) Furry Meats. You've never eaten steaks like them. One mammoth, 13 guys dressed only in bear skins and armed only with ashed beards with flint heads.

So let's go live to our man in the bog, Eric Magnusson.

(Soundbite of Elephant)

HANSEN: Tim Brookes directs the writing program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

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