So I'm eating lunch at the bar and watching the Olympics when these two Startup Bros walk in. Though the bar's empty they sit down right next to me (of course) and start running their yaps, going off on speed-skating: "God, that looks like it doesn't take any effort at all. Boring."
I wanted to say "Of course it looks effortless--these are highly trained athletes that have achieved perfect economy of motion through thousands of hours of practice, you dope."
Then they started debating which was "dumber," speed skating or the biathlon. And I wished for the millionth time that NYC passed a law that lets you break a beer bottle over any bro's head, once a month, no legal repercussions and no questions asked. It would be called the Bro Bottle Law and I would avail myself of my rights.
The biathlon requires athletes to ski cross-country for kilometers with an 8-pound rifle on their backs, then slow their heart rates and breathing down enough to hold a rifle steady and hit a target 50 meters away. If I asked these two out-of-shape jerks to run ten feet into the next room and throw their iPhones into the garbage I bet they'd miss.
Anyways, the biathlon is rather unique because each of the competitors carries a bespoke piece of mechanically-complicated kit: Their customized rifles. The stocks in particular are works of art, traditionally made from wood and precisely sized to the user's specifications.
Image and work by Bear Image and work by Bear Image and work by Bear Image and work by Bear Enter a caption (optional)
Watch this video (sorry, NBC has made it unembeddable) where Olympian and World Championship medalist Susan Dunklee breaks down the design of her rifle.
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For an idea of the work that goes into making one of these stocks, here's a video by Slovakian manufacturer Bear:
Lastly, if you're a New York City politician interested in sponsoring the Bro Bottle Law, please contact me and I'll organize a grassroots support campaign.