Some Like It HotBy now we all know Lindsey Vonn isn’t competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, further diminishing a Winter Games that was already lacking star power. The absence of big names is just one of the reasons the Winter Games pale in comparison to the summer version, especially this year. The Winter Olympics gave us the Miracle on Ice and the delightful film Cool Runnings, for which millions are grateful. But due to its exclusive nature and unfamiliar events, I’m far more excited for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.We like sports to be objective, with clear-cut winners and losers. Team A scored more points than Team B. Runner X crossed the finish line before Runner Y. Too many winter events are determined by judges. Figure skating, snowboarding, and freestyle skiing are three of the more popular sports where the winners are decided by votes. In the summer, the gymnastics events are among the few that require judges. Big-time sports like swimming, track and field, and volleyball do not.Even in the sports where simple numbers (time or distance) decide the medalists, most viewers have no frame of reference. I have no idea what’s a good time for bobsledding or a respectable distance for ski jumping because I’ve never done them. The Summer Games—dominated by simple and inexpensive sports like swimming and track and field—don’t have this problem.Aside from speed skating, there are hardly any winter sports that provide a photo finish. Due to the nature of many events, competitors go one at a time. Viewers have to keep an eye on the clock instead of watch the athletes go head-to-head down the stretch. The incredible finishes we see every four years in the pool or on the track aren’t possible in the Winter Games.And lastly, because of the cost and the climate necessary to attempt many of the winter sports, a majority of the world is excluded. There are 146 countries that have won an Olympic medal: 145 have summer medals, but only 45 have winter medals. You need not only snow but money to train for many of the winter events.Good luck trying to distinguish between two well-executed triple lutzes and have fun watching a couple of guys push a hunk of granite down the ice with a broom. I’ll be counting down the days until the opening ceremony in Rio.Andrew Kahn is a freelance writer who blogs at andrewjkahn.com.Baby, It’s Cold OutsideWe can all agree that most Olympic sports are difficult, or at least require an above average level of specialization, practice, skill, and dedication. This is why millions of people tune in to watch Olympians perform, because they simply don’t possess the combination of natural talent and rigor of these genetic anomalies.But let’s split hairs for a minute: performing sports when it’s cold outside (see: Winter Olympics) is just plain harder, requiring more dexterity, more strength, and more pure nerve than the Olympics’ warm weather cohort will have you believe. Let’s discuss.No one likes the bitter cold. Beach volleyball or snowball fight? I can guarantee 98% of those considered sane by the federal government would pick a warm beach and a Corona in their hand. That’s why winter sports are that much more impressive—it takes a true athlete, a truly hardened individual to face extreme cold, much less ski down a hill at 60 miles an hour in it. Or jump 150 feet in the air on a snowboard. Or ice skate at 40 miles an hour on rock hard ice. Suck it, triathletes, and try doing what you do in a negative-5 wind chill.Ice hockey. Skiing. Snowboarding. Speed skating. Luge. Cross-country skiing. All these sports have two things in common: cold and intensity. Let’s take a look at some summer sports: table tennis, horseback riding, fencing. It sounds more like a country club getaway.Have you ever seen soccer players rip off their gloves, throw down their sticks, and start pummeling each other in the face mercilessly? No? Why, soccer players don’t even have gloves. Or sticks. And they’re not allowed to fight. Is there any sports story more glorious than that of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team? I rest my case.It would seem that Summer Olympians just want to take their shirts off, lounge around at the beach, and pretend at athleticism. If you’ve ever stood atop a mountain in 8-degree weather with 30 mph winds, crossed your fingers, and hoped your skis carried you safely back to the lodge, you can relate. If you haven’t, give it a try some time. If you don’t freeze to death first, you may just come to realize that the Winter Games are really the only sports the Olympics have to offer.Evans Prater is founder of DoNation, a non-profit dedicated to helping folks streamline their support of good causes locally and nationwide: jointhedonation.org.
Indianapolis, In. — Applications for the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Indiana Department of Education (DOE) and Ball State University, are now open to high school students across Indiana. Student teams are invited to submit video pitches online before Feb. 6, 2019, and new to this year’s program, middle school students interested in entrepreneurship are invited to register for workshops offered at the regional competitions in early 2019.“As a state, we’re committed to cultivating Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and that effort begins in the classroom,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “Through this unique partnership, Innovate WithIN is encouraging Hoosier students to hone their creativity and critical thinking skills to come up with innovative ideas that solve 21st century problems. We’re excited to kick off this second annual pitch competition and can’t wait to see the game-changing ideas our students develop.”Innovate WithIN™, which is in its second year, gives Hoosier students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas throughout the state. The overall winners of the state competition will each receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, internship opportunities and mentoring services.Participants are invited to work individually or in small groups to submit an innovative idea for a business, product, service or venture. Students will then receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from across Indiana through three rounds:Round One: Video pitch submissions due Feb. 6Round Two: Regional pitch competitions hosted from March 4 to March 15Final Round: State pitch competition for regional finalists hosted in AprilAfter completing video pitches and regional competitions, the finalists from each region will be invited to Indianapolis for the final round of the competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges from Indiana’s entrepreneurial community.“The University is proud to partner again this year with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Indiana Department of Education on a pitch competition that is bolstering the next generation of entrepreneurs around the state,” said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. “This association is a natural fit for us because Ball State has long been associated with innovation and entrepreneurship–100 years ago the University was founded by five Ball brothers, who were major industrialists of their time. We were founded by entrepreneurs, and we are now propelled by an innovative, immersive approach to education.”In 2018, the inaugural Innovate WithIN™ competition drew 86 online applications from more than 290 Hoosier students at more than 65 high schools. The overall winners, Colin Wareham and Jackson Ramey from Noblesville High School, created a set of board games called Educaid to help students learn principles like entrepreneurship, marketing and management. Wareham and Ramey, along with the other finalists, received mentoring services through the StartEdUp Foundation, which focuses on engaging students and teachers through innovation and entrepreneurship in the classroom. StartEdUp helped develop and execute the students’ ideas through its network of mentors and advisors.“With great educators at the helm, Indiana classrooms have become incubators for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Innovate WithIN pitch competition is an excellent platform for students to showcase their skills. I am proud of our talented students and grateful for the teachers, parents, and communities behind them.”In addition to the pitch competition and mentorship opportunities, the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition will expand to middle school students through ideation sessions at the regional competitions. Open to grades six through eight, these students will participate in workshops aimed at fostering entrepreneurial and critical-thinking skills while also introducing them to real-world business concepts.As part of Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda to make Indiana a hub for innovation and develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce, the state is committed to helping cultivate innovative ideas in the classroom. The Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition fosters an entrepreneurial spirit among our leaders of tomorrow, empowering students to hone their innovative thinking.Submit applications and learn more about the program online here.