By Victoria McNally // SWNS
Forget giving medals to human athletes – two in five Americans think dogs deserve a shot at gold, too.
That’s according to a recent nationally representative survey of 1,000 participants, 37% of whom think that dog sledding should be featured in the next Winter Olympic Games
While dog sled races were previously featured as a “demonstration event” at Lake Placid, New York in 1932 and Lillehammer, Norway in 1994, it has never achieved the status of an official Olympic sport.
Other winter sports that respondents cited as potential Olympic fodder included speed skiing (42%), which was demonstrated in 1992; synchronized skating (43%), the only skating discipline not currently included; and ski ballet, which also appeared in the ‘92 games but now has no formal competition associated with the sport.
At the time the survey was conducted by OnePoll on Feb. 5, 79% of those polled had watched some part of the Winter Olympics in Beijing and 76% plan to continue watching future events.
Not surprisingly given the relative climate differences, respondents from the Northeast and Midwestern parts of the United States were much keener on the winter games than their Southern and Western counterparts.
But just as recent TV ratings also suggest, fewer people are as interested in the Winter Olympics compared to the Summer Olympics, which were recently held in Tokyo, Japan after a year-long delay.
Only one in three (34%) said they cared about both summer and winter sports in equal measure, and over twice as many people (68%) described the Summer Games as “interesting” compared to the Winter Games (36%).
Respondents also found the Summer Games to be more “inspiring” (53% vs. 44%) more “beautiful” (54% vs. 48%), and even slightly more “accessible” (53% vs. 51%).
And while a similar poll about the Summer Games revealed that 40% of respondents think they could compete in a summer or winter sport, this year almost half (50%) of survey-takers feel similarly capable in just winter sports.
At least there’s one silver lining: compared to last year, Americans are much less concerned about a possible spike in COVID-19 cases this time around (69% in 2021 vs. 53% in 2022).
TOP 5 MOST POPULAR WINTER OLYMPIC SPORTS*
- Ski jumping - 3.3
- Figure skating - 3.2
- Freestyle skiing - 3.2
- Snowboarding - 3.2
- Speed skating - 3.2
*As ranked on a 1-5 scale of interest among survey takers