Today everybody in Mexico is on the figure skater Donovan Carrillo's bandwagon. But, let's be honest, Mexicans and Latinos, in general, don't give an F about the Winter Olympics.
One relevant piece of data to support this opinion? As of Feb. 11 of 2022, no Latino has ever won a medal in the event. EVER. No gold, no silver, no bronze. That's a massive region in the world with ZERO accomplishments on ice or snow.
Sure, the governments could help finance and promote some of the disciplines. But at the end of the day, we — you and I — know the lack of interest in winter sports is because most people perceive them as expensive activities or hobbies for rich and annoying folks.
And nothing inspires the masses less than the achievements of people born with a silver spoon.
There are other reasons, as Jennifer Lopez (yes, the unique and only J-Lo) and Fred Armisen pointed out in a funny sketch for Saturday Night Live a few years ago.
Is Ice Soccer The Secret To Attract Latinos To The Winter Olympics?
OK, it is evident: Winter Olympics and Latinos are mutually exclusive terms. But it doesn't need to be like this. And that's why, in an effort to bring a solution for all those involved, I proposed the inclusion of ice soccer in the competition. Or ice football, if you prefer.
The biggest pro: soccer is the No. 1 sport in Latinoamerica, and this could expand the market for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), an institution that falls like a fly when sensing the sweet smell of money.
Next, I reckon we have several challenges to make the sport worth the Olympic consideration, starting with the creation of local and international federations able to foresee the basic frame for the activity. The reason behind this is because ice soccer is not an established sport. Gasp!
There have been some efforts, though. In Germany, for example, Stefan Raab created the TV Total Deutscher Eisfußball-Pokal, a seven-a-side soccer game played on an ice rink. The rules were the same as football, while the players were wearing bowling shoes to add an extra layer of excitement. The tournament started in 2009 but was discontinued in 2015.
You also can find online some ice soccer friendly games in Russia.
But despite the lack of continuity in its practice, both cases show ice soccer has potential. I agree finesse and game flow are areas that need to be improved, but at the same time, nobody can deny this is an example of dumb high-quality and ratings-grabber TV. So good that even Latino sport-snobs will end up embracing it.
I know it is a slippery subject, but think about it, IOC.
And maybe one day Latinoamerica will care about the Winter Olympics and it would be able to grab its first medal ever in the event.