I’ve lived mostly in balmy climates, from Hawaii to California, so winter sports are quite foreign to me. Luge? Biathlon? Curling? But I’ve also made Canada my home, and I’m riveted by the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
The snowboarding and alpine skiing events blow my mind, the way they require utter fearlessness about big air and breakneck speed. I’m also waiting for a Canada-Russia showdown in men’s hockey, the Canadian national obsession and a sport that requires every athletic skill known to mankind.
Sports competition is a fascinating display of mind-body control. Besides warfare and other life-or-death crises, few situations truly push humans to their limits: elite sports are an exception. Contact sports such as hockey and football take competition a step further: athletes are tested not only in scoring points but in fighting opponents doing their utmost to take you down.
Watching the Olympics reminds me of the laughable movement (mostly by Bikram and his followers) to make yoga a competitive sport and even an Olympic event. After all, the objective in sports is competition-day performance. In yoga, asana “performance” is not an end, but a means to mental and spiritual development. Yoga cannot be judged from the outside.