Spare a thought for those incredible Olympians in Pyeonchang. If they’re not hurtling head-first down a toboggan run at 90 mph strapped to a dustbin lid or landing on a pair of skis 100 metres from the end of a gigantic soup ladle, they’re just trying to stay warm in country where you’re only one tram stop short of a dictatorially severe haircut.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, we’re basking in near-zero temperatures in front of log burners, doing our annual head-scratching. Yup, why, when we get an inch of snow, does the whole country grind to a halt? We say the same thing every year and come to the say conclusion: the authorities can’t be arsed to invest in some meaningful winter infrastructure that would keep traffic moving at the first sniff of a snowflake.
I lived in Montreal for three years. Through the long winter, the temperature never got above freezing point. Snowdrifts less than five-metres high were seen as a “dusting”. And yet, nothing ever stopped. Not even that famous Canadian sense of humour could be nixed on even the coldest days.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been glued to the Olympics. The ice hockey gets my gold medal for the sheer excitement. And I didn’t even know the Germans could skate, nevermind reach the men’s final!
But if there’s a discipline that has it all, it’s the biathlon. Fitness beyond imagination, endurance off the scale and shooting a target the size of jam-jar bottom from a distance that requires your coach to look through binoculars to check you haven’t nipped off to the pub for a swift half. All that and you have to carry your own rifle. Can you imagine asking Rory McIlroy to schlep around his own clubs at major tournaments? In the interests of balance, biathletes could ride around on electric buggies and take pot shots at each other from the driver’s seat, but, honestly, where's the fun in that?
As a toast to those Olympic heroes, I’ve prepared my own version of cold-brew coffee. So, here’s to my Swedish pals – we are in awe of your winter sporting talents, your appreciation of incredibly speciality coffee and rather that cool national flag…Make the most of the remaining winter… you’ve got 6 long weeks of summer ahead before it starts snowing again.