At some point, the tiny Scottish island of Ailsa Craig will run out of the signature granite from which all curling stones for the Winter Olympics are made. Whenever that fateful day arrives, Ellen DeGeneres has a solution ready: babies. Preferably adorable, definitely human.
The beloved American comedian and host of NBC’s “Ellen” recently debuted the inaugural event of her “Baby Olympics” for all the world to see. There’s no ice involved, let alone brooms for sweeping. And the athletes here aren’t the babies themselves, but rather the mothers who have agreed to not only allow their children to be objectified for sporting purposes, but also to shove them toward the target themselves.
Despite the absence of collisions and the strategic considerations therein, DeGeneres’ version of curling still makes for compelling television—arguably more so than actual curling.
Visually, infants bring an extra dose of pinch-worthy pudginess to a sport that already features more than its fair share of mom-and-dad bods beyond those of the HamFam in PyeongChang.
From a practical standpoint, though, replacing curling stones with children whose ages are still measured in months rather than years would be incredibly problematic, and not just because babies are 1) alive, 2) fragile and 3) prone to fits of screaming and crying. Their size would require a fundamental alteration in the nature and physics of the sport.
The World Curling Association requires that all stones have “a circumference no greater than 91.44 cm. (36 in.), a height no less than 11.43 cm. (4.5 in.), and a weight, including handle and bolt, no greater than 19.96 kg. (44 lbs.) and no less than 17.24 kg. (38 lbs.).” A circumference of that size measures out to just under 11.5 inches (29.1 centimeters) in diameter.
The disparity in weight between a baby and a curling stone can be made up by a heavier rolling carriage, maybe one comprised of granite. Fitting an infant into those parameters in terms of length would be nigh on impossible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even newborns at the smallest end of the statistical curve would be about 15 centimeters too long.
Perhaps, then, DeGeneres had it right to begin with: the world needs, if not a separate Olympic games for babies, at least a distinct event in which babies can be curled.
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