LETTER TO EDITOR: Ice walking should be Olympic sport
February 26, 2014
Ice walking should be Olympic sport
I believe that ice walking should be recognized as an Olympic sport.
In my neighborhood, especially this winter, Molly (my partner, formerly known as a Golden Retriever) and I have taken our sport of ice walking to new competitive levels.
For instance, this morning's ice walk, after a few days of serious melting, saw new challenges in staying vertical that we haven't encountered in years of competition. Ice conditions were incredible!
As we stepped from our driveway onto the rink (formerly known as sidewalks and streets) our goal was to return to the driveway in somewhat the same physical condition without the assistance of emergency first aid or 911 distress calls. The goal in ice walking is safety first, tricks second.
Off season, Molly walks, well, like a dog. In season, she is a pairs partner at the top of her game. Her crossovers are textbook as her toenails cut into the sheets of ice. And, you should see her triple lutz!
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During our performance there is no looking up from the ice, no connection with the audience, no eye-contact with the judges. Nope. One glance away, one break in ice concentration and the results are unexpected "Hawaii-5-0s-Double-Mama-Mia-Triple-Grab-Moo-Moos-LOL" jumps (formerly known as disasters/hello plaster casts).
Oh, you might be wondering about costuming. There are points for presentation but consider that as temps dropped this winter thanks to our many Arctic blasts, efforts at coordinating color, style, fit, etc., kind of got lost in the effort of seeing how many down vests, long johns and glove liners could fit beneath Gore-Tex and ice fishing mittens. There are some who advocate the use of bike helmets but I'm old fashioned and still prefer earmuffs, hat and hood.
The sport is an open field for competitors at all skill levels. In fact, conditions usually bring out unexpected adrenaline rushes that enable unrepeatable jumps and catches on the most blasé of rinks, like the grocery store parking lots. My husband did an amazing double-split-half-pike while shoveling the front sidewalk (but it didn't actually count as it was in a practice run).
So, I figure, since the Olympics seem to be adding new sports all the time, why not ice walking? It combines skill, athletic ability, luck and insane courage to step onto the rink.
But, why risk it if it's so dangerous? Ask those skiers flying through the air with tangled skies, the snowboarders dropping in just to be thrown out, the skeleton sleds that slide down a tube of ice at 80 mph — or the lowly ice walker — it's the thrill of victory!
Meanwhile, I shall be twizzling down my neighborhood rink.
Toby Baker, Windsor