The following article was expertly written by Muppet fan and Olympics enthusiast Katilyn Miller. Thanks for all your hard work, Katilyn! Now, back to training!
Hello, fellow Muppet sports fans! As you may know, beginning on February 4, 2022, the Winter Olympic Games begin in Beijing, China. This year, like with the Summer Olympics last year, the games will face some difficulties due to the ongoing pandemic.
But you know who doesn’t get COVID? Muppets (Big Bird vaccinations aside). Which means they would all make great candidates to participate in the games without being a risk to anyone. But who should the Muppets send? Who is worthy of going for gold among the finest athletes in the wintry world? Let’s take a sport-by-sport look.
Biathlon – This sport is composed of a cross-country skiing portion and a shooting portion. Individuals who compete in this sport must have endurance and keen marksmanship. The natural choice for entry in this sport is the Swedish Chef. Of all the Muppets he has the most experience with target shooting and skiing. How do I know that? He’s from Sweden. Everyone from Sweden knows how to ski.
Figure Skating – Whether individuals or pairs figure skating, the Muppet choice for competitors is clear: The Penguins, thanks to their natural dexterity on the ice and Annual Penguin Skating Party (famously crashed by Kermit, Gonzo, and Rizzo in The Muppet Christmas Carol). They train to flip and spin for their day jobs. And there are so many of them, they’ve got every event covered.
Curling – One of the more unique sports in the Winter Olympics. A sort of winter shuffleboard. Curling involves throwing a large disc down some ice as well as a whole lot of broom sweeping. It’s something to be seen for sure, but knowing just this much about the sport, a clear team comes forward. Lew Zealand has been training in accurate throwing for decades. Fish and curling stones are practically interchangeable – he’ll just have to keep them from boomeranging back up the ice. And who better to do the sweeping than the Muppet Show janitor Beauregard?
Snowboard – A sport where the athlete travels down a halfpipe launching themselves in the air and performing gnarly tricks. Approximately 90% of snowboarding is style and who has style in spades? Uncle Deadly. End of argument.
Speed Skating – Speed skating is all about, you guessed it, speed. And what could be more helpful in gaining speed than an extra leg? The Screaming Thing is a triple shoe-in for a medal in this sport.
Skeleton – Skeleton is the scariest sport imaginable. Someone decided it was a good idea to send athletes careering downhill, on ice, at upwards of 80 mph (130 km/h) head first. Yeah, not for the faint of heart or head. Also, the heavier the slider, the faster. We’ll have to send a brave Muppet with a large, heavy noggin. Sweetums is the monster for the job. His head has proven pretty resilient too.
Luge – Luge is basically the same as skeleton except turned around. So we need a Muppet that is Sweetums in reverse. Enter Thog.
Bobsleigh – This sport is luge/skeleton except you cram four people into a sled rocketing down the ice chute. So now we need a team of four heavy Muppets. The Bouncing Borsalino Brothers have what it takes to take the podium. Their teamwork has led them to great heights before and with their combined weight, they may even break the record for fastest time as well as the ice.
Ice Hockey – Ice Hockey is one of the most involved sports of the Winter Olympics as it can include up to 20 players on a single team. It’s a fast-paced sport where you have to go as hard as you can as long as you can. And while I wanted to draft an entire Muppet line-up for the Olympics, I’ll stick with the top line of five plus the goaltender. In fact, the Muppets I have in mind might even go the entire game without needing a break. If the directive is to go hard, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem will go for hours. Dr. Teeth, with his bulk and spastic arms is perfect to play goaltender. He’ll keep the puck out of the net. Zoot, Floyd and Janice are limber and quick enough to play offense. A check into the boards from Lips as a defenseman is not something opponents will look forward to. And Animal has it all. He’s fast enough to play both sides of the ice. He will defend his zone with his teeth. But they might need a miracle on ice to keep him out of the penalty box.
Alpine Skiing – Alpine skiing is what most people think of when they think of skiing during the Olympics. Downhill, navigating twists and turns around flags, changing direction at 95 mph (152 kp/h). It might seem beyond the capabilities of any creature to accomplish such a feat. Which is where science steps in. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew is so attuned to the athlete’s needs that’s he’s capable of developing a pair of precision rocket skis to get the skier down the hill faster without the wearer needing the reflexes to turn on a dime. Unfortunately, with the games so close, they would likely be untested, but his assistant Beaker would be sure to demonstrate them quite successfully at the games.
Ski Jumping – The ski jump requires skill at flying through the air with exactitude and focus. No fancy flips or changes in direction needed for this ski event. And the Muppets have just the act to take to the skies. The Flying Zucchini Brothers make their living hurtling themselves into dangerous situations and wouldn’t twitch their mustaches at the sight of the ramp. Sure their landings aren’t always precise, but there’s still time to work on that.
Cross-country skiing – When investigating the biographies of champion Olympic athletes, one often finds that the individual has been training for the sport long before they competed, either for fun or out of necessity. It is for this reason that Fozzie Bear is the most qualified for the sport of cross-country skiing. The marathon of the winter sport landscape, Cross-country skiing is just part of daily life for anyone who lives in a place covered with snow for long periods of time. Knowing that Fozzie grew up on a farm that tends to receive a lot of snow, there is no doubt that he has spent his fair share of time with skis on his feet making his way between home and town to get to the joke shop. That’s dedication.
Freestyle skiing – Freestyle skiing is the same as snowboard except on skis. Sadly, the Muppet team hopeful in this sport, Kermit the Frog, is unable to make it after injuring a flipper when his trainer pushed him too hard out of the starting gate.
As I have described these sports, you all may be wondering why I haven’t chosen the most obvious Muppet to participate. After all, who would relish the chance to plunge down an icy slope, savor the death-defying jumps, and spin on the ice so fast that he would drill a hole right through it? Gonzo the Great, that’s who. Sure, he may crash on just about all of them, but he would do it with such pizzazz, such panache, such grace that the Olympic committee would have no choice but to declare him the Gold Medal winner of the world. And that just wouldn’t be fair to the other countries participating. So instead, he’s Team Muppet’s coach.
So stay tuned as we pursue this petition with the International Olympic Committee. The Muppets’ own Louis Kazzager and the Newsman will be covering all of the highlights (and low lights) for all you Muppet fans back home. Go team Muppet!
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by Katilyn Miller