A fictional encyclopedia entry from Citypedia (If it existed, it would be like Wikipedia for the city.)
The 2010 New York City Winter Olympics, officially the XXI New York City Olympic Winter Games, is a prominent local sporting event held every four years. The majority of the events are held on the island of Manhattan, while some of the events extend into the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens boroughs. No events are held on Staten Island.
Ten winter sports events have been announced as part of the 2010 New York City Winter Olympics. The three sports categorized as endurance sports are: Bare-Legged, High-Heeled Outdoor Line Waiting (women only); Outdoor Smoking Endurance; and Winter Weather Advisory Cab Hailing. The four sports categorized as speed sports are: Narrow, Crowded Sidewalk Sprints; the Icy Sidewalk Relay; Snowy Subway Stair Running; and Identify/Save the Homeless Man. The two sports categorized as agility sports are Puddle Jumping and Subway Balancing, a year round event. The most anticipated sport each year is a category in and of itself: Eating. This year, contestants will devour large, hot bowls of Ramen noodle soup.
Bare-Legged, High-Heeled Outdoor Line Waiting (Women's only)
New York's February Fashion Week, officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, inspired this endurance sport in which only the toughest fashionistas can compete. The sport is meant to replicate the circumstances of waiting outside in a long line to get into a popular club in midwinter. In this event, women in high heels, short skirts and absolutely no nylons must stand outside on a blustery sidewalk at night for as long as possible. The winner is the woman who endures the longest. In 2010, the Olympic Committee has selected a location just west of the popular Meatpacking District, on the western edge of the West Side Highway. At this location, buildings do not block competitors from the wind. As the event has evolved, competition has increased. Scores are weighted for difficulty, and as a result, the heels of the shoes have been getting increasingly high. This year it is expected competitors will wear shoes with heel height a minimum of 6 inches. No woman has won the competition in lower than 4-inch heels. Women can huddle together, but not touch each other's legs or feet. Anyone found with a heating pad in the shoe is disqualified. The world record is held by Icelandic model Katrín Evudóttir who withstood temperatures reaching real-feel 3-degrees Fahrenheit for 13 hours. No competitors have made it until sunrise when the sun would warm the extremities and potentially give the women an advantage. The most common injury associated with the event is toe amputation.
Outdoor Smoking Endurance (Women and Men)
While some urban legends point to Fashion Week as the inspiration for this event, the real impetus was the legions of smokers standing outside office buildings. In this event competitors must skillfully differentiate between the exhalation of smoke and the exhalation of steam--an ability likely gained after years of practicing the cold-weather exhale. Those who keep exhaling beyond the point of releasing the smoke from the lungs are often handicapped by affects of hyperventilation. They are often disqualified after becoming dizzy and resting their hand on a wall or the ground for support. Another risk for disqualification is hand-numbness and inability to light the next cigarette. Rules require a lighter or match to be used, and the window between cigarettes must be under 35 seconds. The winner is the smoker who can smoke the most number of cigarettes outside without being disqualified. Construction workers have long held the advantage in the men's competition. Secretaries have long held the advantage in the women's competition.
Winter Weather Advisory Cab Hailing
This event incorporates speed, strategy and endurance. Competitors must withstand bitter, winter weather, choose the best position at which to hail a cab, and must get into that cab before other competitors do. This last step requires not only speed, but also strategy. If the cab isn't able to stop near enough to the hailer, the cab could be intercepted by another competitor. The Olympic Committee chooses the intersection in Manhattan. In 2010, the committee chose the busy, four-way stop at 42nd Street and Broadway. This event has been the focus of much criticism for a few reasons. First scantily clad women have an advantage in the sport. All female, gold-medal winners have won by revealing their lingerie to the cab driver. The all-time record has been held for a decade by a woman with size triple-D breasts. On the other hand, Hispanic and African American men have a disadvantage, as cab drivers have long been biased against picking them up. Only skinny, Caucasian men dressed in white-collar attire have placed in this event in the men's competition. Groups protecting the rights of all impacted demographics protest the event on an annual basis.
Narrow, Crowded Sidewalk Sprints
New York County is the most densely populated county in the country. When sidewalks become narrowed by piles of shoveled snow, pedestrian travel requires increased agility. This event is comprised of three block-long sprints during evening rush hour. Two of the sprints are on numbered streets and extend about 200 feet. The third sprint extends across an avenue block, approximately 1000 feet in length. Competitors must zigzag, swerve around, or hop over any obstacles in the path including other pedestrians. A participant is disqualified if he or she jumps off the sidewalk to the street or if he or she bumps into another person without stopping and saying, "Excuse me. Are you ok?" Any damage done to the street or property, including knocking over of a city garbage can or knocking off a car's side mirror, is a deduction of points. Extra points are given to competitors carrying grocery bags or other bulky, heavy items. Extra points are no longer given to competitors carrying children, as this practice was banned after little Maggie suffered whiplash in 2007.
Icy Sidewalk Relay
After a snow storm, ice on New York City sidewalks isn't smooth like that found on an ice rink. Rather it's often bumpy, similar to moguls found in skiing. In this competition, teams of four run across extended patches of bumpy, New York City sidewalk ice. Cleats, crampons or Yaktrax shoe soles are not permitted. Team members must wear common-man rain or snow boots. No baton is used as in traditional track and field relays. Rather team members hand-off a "stolen" purse purchased from a local thrift store and approved by the Olympic Committee. Sidewalks used for the event are closed to the general public until the race is completed, and the sidewalk is de-iced.
Snowy Subway Stair Running
Originally this event was the New York City version of the luge, bobsled and skeleton competitions present in the international Winter Olympics. The event was accidentally facilitated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which wasn't quick to clear snow away from subway stairs. The result? A perfectly, slippery hill. In the first several NYC Winter Olympic Games, competitors would race down the snowy stairwells wearing greased up leather, traction-free soles. The goal was to be the first competitor to arrive on the subway platform ready to board a train. But after a fractured coccyx, several dislocated shoulders (from grabbing onto a railing during a fall) and a broken neck, the Olympic Committee changed the nature of the competition. Now it more closely resembles a track and field event. Competitors must run down the stairs without slipping as quickly as possible. Each competitor must make a foot print on every step. Tracking the footprints has been made easier by the regulation that competitors wear shoes with their initials stamped into the soles.
Puddle jumping tests agility, speed and leg strength. It is most similar to the long jump event in the international Summer Olympic Games. In this event, competitors start by standing at an intersection made impassable by a giant puddle. When the walk sign lights up, the competitors must jump over the puddle from a stand still. Points are given for distance; points are subtracted for splash. The intersection used for the event is selected by the Committee. Because there are so many of these puddles, the event has never been held at the same location twice. This year's event will take place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the intersection of Lorimer and Meeker.
This is the only year-round event. It is a favorite in the city and not dependent on the weather. In this event, competitors must ride a subway train standing up without holding on to anything for as long as possible. The competitor who goes the longest without steadying themselves via pole, a person, or wall likely wins the event. In recent years, the Committee has ramped up the difficulty by requiring that participants play Tetris on their cell phones while balancing in the train. Once all competitors have completed their ride, Tetris scores are analyzed by the judges. Competitors with the top three Tetris scores, weighted for difficulty, get 3 minutes added to their scores. The record holder is a 15-year-old boy who honed his balancing skills breakdancing through subway cars for handouts.
Eating: Hot Ramen
Once a year, New Yorkers flock to Coney Island to watch Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. But that's not enough to satisfy New York's taste for eating competitions. After much demand from the public, the Olympic Committee created its own signature eating event. Each year, the food is different, but it's always popular New York fare. This year competitive eaters must gorge themselves on bowls of hot, pork-based Ramen. Other years, competitors have had to eat cannolis, roasted nuts, cheese pizza and pretzels. A big upset took place 17 years ago when the Committee selected coffee as the food. After the event, several over-caffeinated participants created havoc. Acidic urine burnt holes in the stage. One innocent bystander was killed when a participant ran him over with his own two feet.