Please don’t show me the luge athletes for short
Sledding, I learned in my 24 hours of fandom, is very scary. You have a sled that you steer with your calves. You hold tiny handles that help you steer, but only a little. Your gloves are covered in tiny spikes that allow you to hit the ice and help you go fast. You’re sliding on the ice at 80 mph, and sometimes you hit the wall, and it’s very bad and very scary.
I’m too scared to even walk on a patch of ice. What if I slip and fall? I once did an alpine slide as a kid, and the terror still lives in my brain. I come from a state that was regularly warmed by the sun until it was almost unbearable, so I don’t understand this tendency to slide down the icy slide. That is to say, I am very impressed with the luge athletes.
I watched all four rounds of men’s singles luge on Sunday. Tobogganing, I learned, is all about consistency. Your four scores are added together to determine placements. You must be prefect, or as close as possible, four times. I watched Germany’s Johannes Ludwig wipe the slippery ice with his opponents, break the track record twice! I saw Austrian Wolfgang Kindl take silver and Italian Dominik Fischnaller take bronze. And with each race, I shouted “NO!” at the very beginning because the NBC cameramen insisted on reminding me of the death.
Here’s what a great photo of an athlete sledding down should look like:
That’s nice, isn’t it? It looks soothing, beautiful, soothing. Sure he goes so fast but also he looks so long with plenty of space on either side of him! It makes sense to me.
But on TV, I also saw that. There’s a camera, just at the end of the slide entrance, that shortens the athletes, turning them into terrifying, disproportionate, doll-sized versions of themselves about to jump down the slide. peril ! Right here. Watch this, if you dare.
Look how short his torso looks! Look how GIANT his HEAD looks. I hate that!!!! Here is another:
Why do we have to see this??? Why do I have to be tortured with these images?
Each one reminds me of painting Lamentation of the Dead Christ painted by Andrea Mantegna between 1490 and 1508. Here. Look at this.
Every art history teacher likes to talk about this painting because it is so moving. The intense shortcut is uncomfortable. The focus is not on Christ as a person, but on the elements of his death: the holes in his feet and hands, his hard abs, his chest, his breathless nose. Personally, I think this painting is bad, and I believe the reason it was found in Mantegna’s studio after his death is not because it was “kept for personal use” – like the many museums claim – but because he knew he was bad. He was waiting to paint on it.
This angle, this point of view to look at a person is perhaps the most unflattering and the most unsettling that exists.! So why do I see this:
Sledding is already dangerous. People are dying! An athlete died before the opening ceremony in Vancouver in 2010!
Fortunately, there are still many days to resolve this problem. Women’s luge starts tomorrow, followed by doubles and team luge. Please, I beg the videographers, don’t make me watch the tobogganers for short. They scare me. They remind me of death.