Down the Slope One More Time

 

As is usually the case, the 2014 Winter Olympics have provided some big moments and low ebbs for the United States. Take hockey. No really, take hockey! After defeating the home country, Russia, those of us die-hards who bleed red, white and blue were counting the days until the gold medal match. Unfortunately, so were our neighbors to the north, Canada. Of course, this was just one of many disappointments and triumphs.

Well folks, that’s why they call them the Olympic games and not forgone conclusions. You never know what can happen.

Which Dip is the Big Cheese These Olympics? 

There has been one consistent element about the Winter Olympics at the home of the Big Dipper. It’s been Gordo’s Cheese Dip. We have devoured tons of this stuff and there are still a few more contests to go.

For my money, here is the medal breakdown for Gordo’s Cheese Dip when consumed while watching the Olympics.

The Bronze Medal goes to GORDO’S ORIGINAL!

Coming in at a close second and taking the Silver Medal is…GORDO’S CHEESE AND SALSA DIP!!!

And after hundreds and hundreds of dips with all kinds of chips, vegetables, pretzels, mini-sandwiches and anything else we could find in the refrigerator, the Gold Medal for best cheese dip goes to …

I know…isn’t it great? They’re all winners! I’m getting a little misty-eyed.

Making a Lunge 

Have you noticed anything weird when two contestants are competing head-to-head in these Winter Olympics? At first, I thought it was just me, but later, several publications noted the same phenomenon I had been seeing. The athletes have been lunging over the finish line?!?

 

This seems strange and even counter-intuitive for several reasons. First, how can someone who has completed 500 meters to 50 kilometers with impeccable grace and aerodynamic aplomb suddenly throw himself or herself over the fishing line? Secondly, haven’t we always been admonished to “run through” the finish line? In running sprints, don’t athletes stick out their chests to break the imaginary tape? They don’t dive over.    

As it turns out, there’s a reason for these athletes lunging at the end of their races. The company hired by the International Olympic Committee to provide photocell technology to determine precise timing for each race – Omega – designed its lasers to pick up tips of skis or speed skating blades, before the rest of the body crosses the finish line.

In speed skating, for example, the laser finish line and the photocells that break ties are about one centimeter off the ice and are focused on the tip of the blade. This is according to Peter Hurzeler, a board member of Omega who oversees the Olympic timekeeping. The U.S. speed skating coach, Shimabukuro, noted in the Wall Street Journal that is this reach or lunge is done flawlessly, it might be possible to knock off anywhere from .001 to .005 second off a racer’s time. However, kicking is not allowed since the blade must remain in contact with the ice.

In cross-country skiing, the Olympic officials noted that the timing device is located about 30 centimeters off the ground. The photo cells that shoot 2,000 frames per second and can determine differences as small at one 10,000th of a second are focused on the toe of the boot. This is the part of the body that determines the winner! For this lunging strategy to pay off, it must be executed flawlessly because making the move just before the finish line sends the upper body back and up, thereby slowing the center of gravity.

Now we know why those gifted athletes are ending up sprawling on the ice and snow at the conclusion of their runs. As you might imagine, this also suggests an excellent Gordo’s Cheese dipping game for the last days of the Olympics.

It’s so simple, it’s brilliant.

Every time one of the competitors lunges over the finish line, everyone in the room screams “Watch out! You’re gonna FALLLL!” Then everyone takes a big, heaping dip of Gordo’s Cheese Dip and says: “Are they OK?” This is the cue for a big swig of your favorite adult beverage.

You’re welcome.

The Olympic Spirit

These Winter Olympic games have been fun to watch, in spite of some questionable figure skating judging and uniform malfunctions on the speed skaters. The U.S. might not win all the gold medals we thought we would, but the spirit of international competition that the Olympics represent has been evident throughout the contests.

Now, let’s get back to some warm-weather sports. Spring training anyone?

 

 

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