Why Varsity will be just like Sochi

looks forward to the College Varsity event against Durham in week eight and strangely compares the tournament to the Winter Olympics…

Image: YUSU

Image: YUSU

In many ways, York’s upcoming College Varsity tournament is very much comparable and on a level to the Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. Asides from the fact that Varsity will be held in a setting where homosexuality isn’t institutionally frowned upon.

Okay, maybe there are some instances where Varsity is clearly not on the same level as Sochi. I can’t see York Sport spending £30 billion on the opening ceremony; we’ll be lucky if the opening PowerPoint even has sound (although I hear, through the grape vine, that it might even be animated).

There won’t be a massive fireworks display, or a lights show, and Health and Safety might take issue with Cass Brown carrying through a flaming torch to light a cauldron, but there will be quite a few people gathered in the same place. In fact, Cass Brown is even comparable to torch-bearer Maria Sharapova to some extent – although she doesn’t play international tennis, she has occasionally played badminton for the University.

Even the cold setting of York will be comparable to Sochi, as groups of spectators huddle like penguins as they try to stay warm whilst watching sports they probably don’t understand because it just so happens that there is a competitive tournament going on nearby. And, like most of the sports at the Winter Olympics, it’s likely to be a downhill route into likely disappointment for our campus’ sportspeople.

The sports may be different, but, with the current trajectory of the ever-worsening inclement weather, it is quite likely that ice hockey will take place on the JLD.

A recent advert from Canada raised a very good point against the banning of gay ‘propaganda’ in Russia, making the point that the Games have always been ‘a little bit gay’. Shoving two people of the same gender onto a small of sheet of metal and pushing them downhill is certainly very intimate, and competitions for figure skating bring out the age-old stereotypes about men who dance. In the biathlon, it’s even implied in the title.

Thankfully, the much more liberal Varsity rises above and beyond homophobia and champions diversity by bringing people together in sport, just like what the Winter Olympics does try to, in fairness, actually achieve . Surely it is this coming together of like-minded athletes to compete against each other without discrimination that makes these two sporting events truly and equally renowned, spectacular and inspiring.

Nevertheless, Varsity, like the Winter Olympics, is going to capture the sporting imagination of the local population and its sporting heroes might inspire the games’ onlookers to finally take up the sports they love. Probably.

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