In 2014, my favorite Olympic sport was the ski jump. But that was before I had tried cross-country skiing. My new favorite Olympic sport is the biathlon. Cross-country skiing is hard - like, really hard. After pushing themselves through a cardio-intensive activity, the athletes have to slow their heart rates enough to shoot five targets.
Then, the sport gets brutal. For every shot the skiers miss - they have to take a 150m penalty lap. While I was watching, I realized how the competitors have to make the tradeoff between taking their time to shoot and finishing quickly. In the pursuit event, the top three finishers all missed one shot out of twenty. That amount of accuracy during a grueling 12.5km cross-country ski race is astounding.
If we move somewhere colder next year (Rochester) I am going to give this sport a try.