Flying

Andrea Mead Lawrence, 1947

I love the winter Olympics. It is all about flying. Flying across the ice, flying through the air, and sometimes, like Icarus, plummeting from the sky and doing a face plant in the snow.

Flying comes naturally to our souls. But our bodies need a little assist. The most bonkers news from Pyeongchang, South Korea, is that the ski jumpers have worked out a novel way to get a flying advantage by having a baggier crotch, so they can catch more air. Here’s what Jon Mooallem wrote in the New York Times: ‘The get-ups which resemble a kind of human beer cozy, now sag in the crotch, to subtly catch more of an updraft, and are permeable, to minimize unhelpful resistance. There are, however, scrupulous rules about the degree of sagging and permeability; the threat of ‘suit doping’ is real.’

Mum says there’s lots of celebrating in the UK as two local women bagged gold and bronze in the skeleton. Basically flinging yourself down a mountain on a tea tray. Brits are traditionally not very good at the Winter Olympics. We don’t have much snow. Or rather not the kind you can do anything with. I remember ski-ing as a teenager in Scotland. The snow was thick and sticky like porridge. And as we walked off the piste we hit a soggy patch and sank waist deep in a peat bog.

There isn’t much winter Olympics funding either. So Brits do best at things which don’t require much gear; activities like throwing a stone across the ice and brushing it into place (AKA curling). Apparently we’re also medal hopefuls in wheelchair curling at the Paralympics.

To my delight I recently discovered something called the senior Olympics (for the over 50s). Thinking I might enter and medal as the Lindsey Vonn of the blue slopes, or even represent Britain in armchair curling, I checked out the site. Here is a list of the sports on offer; pickleball, horseshoes, power walking, shuffleboard, bridge and square dance. I kid you not.

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