Took notice the other day that the 2010 Winter Olympics are almost upon us. Wow, they sure snuck up on me. I normally don’t follow much of them as a rule, maybe a hockey game now or then but generally it is just background noise on the TV. Way back before cable and satellite TV it was almost impossible to avoid them, but now that I have 200+ channels (many of them copies of other channels) I have alternatives to watch instead of the nail biting curling final between Canada and Sweden.
Then I thought to myself “wait! there’s the biathlon….rifles and shooting!!” Now we got some sport going on here! For those who may not know, the Winter Biathlon is a competition consisting of cross country skiing combined with small bore rifle marksman competition. Imagine a marathon where every five miles or so the runners stopped and then had to fire at targets immediately while constrained to a time limit. I did a post a few weeks ago about a Marine sniper who could control his body to shoot between heartbeats. These folks take it a couple of steps further. Imagine having to exert yourself physically and then stop while your lungs are heaving only to have to force them to behave while you shot. I have a hard enough time often enough doing it while I am sitting at a table or lying prone on a range, let alone to try while winded. Obviously, these athletes are in excellent physical condition.
Now they are shooting .22 rifles, but they are not the Ruger 10/22 that you and I picked up at Wally World for $189. Nope these rifles are custom jobs costing thousands of dollars specifically geared towards competition. A German company called Anschutz makes biathlon rifles apparently used by 95% of all competitors. Another manufacturer of note is the Russian company Izmash which makes, among other products, AK rifles and Dragunov sniper rifles for the Russian military and export. Anyway, these rifles are out of the purchasing reach for most of us, though I would love to get behind one and watch the shock in the owners eyes as I feed some CCI lead nose rounds I fish out of my pocket into the mouth of his baby….
Now the sport has some fierce competition, but generally the participant are a very tight knit group and many have been competing against each other for many years. However, sometimes tension can be quite high and tempers flare in the heat of competition….
and of course these jerks can always show up at any time….
(yeah, posting this vid isn’t going to get old any time soon….)
Some interesting fact I found out about these games….
- A Norwegian named Bjorndalen is apparently ready to make Olympic history in the event if he wins his 6th medal in the event. Considering the sport has only been in the Olympics since 1960 means that this guy has won a medal in 1/2 of all competitions held in the Olympics since its inception. Cool.
- This is a picture of the Canadian Women’s Team (picture posting dedicated to Kev), I kid you not they have their own calendar. While the calendar proceeds don’t go towards helping wounded veterans like the Magpul calendar does, it does help finance their team. Like I said before, these athletes are in EXCELLENT condition. Flaunt it if you got it I guess.