Q&A #60: What comic book character do you want to compete at the Olympics?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments:

What comic book character do you want to compete at the Olympics



Anika

I hate to be predictable but Carol Danvers embodies the Olympic spirit more than any other character I can think of: the fiery flame of passion, determination, achievement, and global idealism by way of patriotism.

She could be competitive in many events but there is one she’d love.

Have you ever watched Ski Jump? Skiers zoom down a ramp at up to 60 miles per hour and launch themselves into the air in what can only be described as an attempt to fly. It is not for the fainthearted, but the fearless. And Carol has always, always wanted to fly. Fast, and far, and free.

Just one problem. Women don’t jump at the Olympics. Is that archaic or what? There was a proposal to get Women’s Ski Jumping into the Vancouver Olympics and it was rejected on the grounds that there aren’t enough women ski jumpers. Well, obviously if they aren’t allowed to compete! Then, proving they exist, 15 international women ski-jumpers sued to be allowed in. They lost. Twice. So Carol is ineligible for her event even if she weren’t a superhuman.

I’m submitting a protest. Ginny Weasley deserves her Olympic moment, too.



Caroline

Two-man bobsled obviously calls for a Green Lantern. Read this description: “Pilots must have the skill, timing and finesse to drive the sleigh along the best possible line to achieve the greatest possible speed.” Sounds like a job for Hal Jordan, right?

Why two-man bobsled? Because no superhero is better at the one-on-one team up than Hal. So. . what superhero is best suited to be Hal Jordan’s brakeman?

The brakeman is the guy who lends direction and control to the race, who makes sure that the sled gets to the bottom in one piece. The obvious answer is Hal’s old Brave-and-the-Bold buddy, the great-and-no-longer late Barry Allen. He fits the bill in every possible way including, of course, speed. But using super speed in the Olympics would violate Barry’s straight-laced sense of ethics. Hal could (and would) take off his Green Lantern ring, the way he does when he flies jets for the Air Force. Among other factors, there’s no daredevil thrill in facing off against gravity if you can make yourself a flying horse anytime you want and pull out of a tailspin. But Flashes can’t turn off their superspeed. Also, Barry would show up late and get the duo disqualified.

Kyle Rayner would do it if Hal asked him to, but that’s not how he’d prefer to spend his time off. He’d rather work on his art. Ditto John Stewart in his career as an architect. And as entertaining as a Hal Jordan/Guy Gardner teamup would be, you couldn’t really trust Guy not to crash the sled just for fun. As for Oliver Queen, he’d probably be keen to take on another challenge — use some of his fortune to fund the team, too. But Hal would never ask him, because he’d be suspicious that Ollie would find a political cause to protest and end up chaining himself to the bobsled track instead of competing. Hal would probably have a point.

So which Justice League A-lister fits the bill? I’m thinking of a guy who has the money to spend on equipment and training, the daredevil reputation to maintain, no metahuman powers to get in the way, and the amazing physical and mental control that a great brakeman needs. Plus, the guy needs to learn how to have a little fun. Meet Bruce Wayne, America’s newest bobsledding superstar.



Jennifer

This is the first year I’ve watched the Olympics, and I can’t seem to stop comparing the athletes to comic book characters. It’s understandable — Olympic-caliber athletes are pretty much the closest thing to superheroes we have in the real world. In some cases, my comparisons have been more about physical casting than personality — snowboarder Shaun White as Shatterstar, speed skater Apolo Ohno as Daken — and some have been based on a few more factors, like the fact that flamboyant ice skater Johnny Weir pretty much IS the human incarnation of Northstar, costume and all.

But there’s one comparison, one that came to mind almost accidentally, that has me really intrigued. On the surface, Scott Summers, X-Men leader Cyclops, doesn’t strike me much as the figure skater type — he doesn’t really have a performer’s personality, or the body type you’d expect of a skater. But I changed my mind when I saw this guy win the gold medal:

That’s Evan Lysacek, the first American man to win ice skating gold since 1988. He’s tall and skinny, deceptively gangly, with dark floppy hair (when it’s not slicked back) and a serious face that makes him look older than his 24 years. In interviews, he comes across as awkward but serious, standoffish and almost (admittedly) obsessive-compulsive in his determination to do everything exactly right. And did I mention his first childhood skating costume was a superhero costume he designed for himself?

In short, Evan Lysacek is who Scott Summers would be if he were an ice skater. And I’d love to see that collusion come to life.



Sigrid


I want to see Katina Choovanski of Strangers in Paradise compete in biathalon.

That’s right, Katchoo. Think about it. Gruesomely stubborn, hates to lose, likes to compete in things other people think are important just to piss them off. She’s in reasonably good shape, and could easily get into competitive condition with a year or so of working at it. She keeps her head in high-pressure situations, as long as her heart isn’t on the line. She’d be a fantastic interview pre- and post- competing, as long as she wasn’t in the middle of a fight with Francine, David, or Casey. Her antics, on and off the course, would make for great publicity.

And she’s an amazing shot.

The only thing is, she’d have to quit smoking. I’m not sure Katchoo would commit to that.


What comic book character do you want to compete at the Olympics

  • Anika

    What I really want to see are the over-the-top True Olympic Stories for each of these.

  • Caroline’s answer cracks me up. Of course! I would love to see all of those potential partnerships fail.

    I love the other answers, too. And of course, obviously my favorite Olympic-caliber, super-patriotic athlete in comics is Captain America, but he’d never compete — he’d win every event, and it would be cheating!

  • Since we’re mostly talking about the Winter Olympics, I will refrain from mentioning how all the Arrows need to be in the archery competition, and how Dick Grayson clearly gets gold in men’s gymnastics.

    Instead I will just say this – Dick Grayson and Donna Troy for pairs figure skating. 😀

  • Anika

    @Margot — Dick and Kory are my Titans pairs skaters for the Clix Olympics (Donna doesn’t have the required skill on her dial)! Wanna help choose their music?

  • @Anika Dick and Kory would also make an amazing figure skating team!

    I would love to help choose their music. 😀

  • CoreytheDevil

    I think this question begins and ends with Bobby Drake. Who else would dominate any ice/snow related event than the guy whose been turning into it since he was 13? He wouldn’t even need his powers. Just by knowing and understanding ice better than any other human being (aside from maybe Captain Cold or Blizzard), Bobby would know just how to approach certain turns in a speed skating track or how to angle himself for maximum speed on the luge.

  • Scott Summers, curler.

    The end.

  • Cash

    Hank McCoy, half-pipe snowboarding.

    Oh, come on–it’s perfect! He wouldn’t even have to wear a snowsuit!

  • handyhunter

    Scott Summers, curler.

    Is that so you can yell dirty things at him in public and have it be part of the game?

    Wolverine: ice hockey. Plays for some USian team(s) most of the time, but every four years, he heads up north to play for the home country. You would not imagine the amount of cursing and beer drinking when they lose.

  • Anika. . .why is that guy called Harry Potter?

    I love our answers.

  • Menshevik

    @Anika –
    Um, isn’t Carol Danvers able to fly? So wouldn’t she inevitably be excluded from competing in the ski jump even if they had it for women at the Olympics? And wouldn’t you have a similar problem with a lot of superpowered people? Northstar certainly got a lot of negative publicity and was accused of cheating after his powers became public knowledge, and these accusations led him to relinquish his medals (don’t know if they included any Olympic ones).
    Re. women’s ski jump not being an Olympic discipline: Well, with some sports the decision which ones are included at the Olympics does seem to be a bit arbitrary. I rather suspect there are a lot more baseball and softball players than there are women ski jumpers (maybe even ski jumpers male and female), yet these games are no longer Olympic.

    @Margot –
    Well, Cissie (formerly Arrowette) did win a gold medal in archery at a big international competition that transparently represented the Sydney Olympics. So she’s the one who immediately came to my mind when I read the questions.

    @Sigrid –
    Love the idea!

  • Anika

    @Caroline He got the name when he won gold in Salt Lake City. He was 20 years old and no one had never heard of him, he was a scraggly kid with glasses and he flew and won gold — and he was exuberant crying out “Gold medal yah!”. I wish I could find a youtube of it because it’s adorable and one of those rare completely unmanufactured Olympic moments. But it’s just one of those things someone somewhere said and it stuck. He won both golds again this year.

  • @Menshevik I know. One of my favorite issues ever. Which is why the rest of her family need medals as well.

  • Anika

    @Mensheviek —
    1. Yes, she is able to fly; I said at the end she’d be ineligible as a superhuman. But I sort of took the question as superpowers would be factored somehow in the fantasy.

    2. She wasn’t born with the ability to fly and it is my personal opinion that Carol’s innate character is not defined by her superhuman abilities so if we took away said abilities for the purposes of the hypothetical, it would still be *Carol* competing.

    3. First, while that is something of a valid comparison, the Summer Games have more events so subtracting ones that do not have enough participation makes more sense logistically. Second, they took out both baseball and softball but here they maintain the men’s jump but do not include the women’s. It is a double standard and one with no cause because a) there are competitive, international women jumpers, and b) the women are just as good as the men — they even tested the jump in Vancouver for the IOC. I’d be perfectly fine with the women being allowed to compete in the men’s competition if it is really a numbers game, though that would likely be frowned upon in some circles.

  • Menshevik

    @Anika –
    while for me the fact that Carol wasn’t born with the ability to fly makes her more problematic as her case (power-transfer through technology) does come uncomfortably close to real-world doping, while in Northstar’s case you could argue that his superspeed is just something he was born with which gives him an edge, rather as tall people frequently have an edge playing basketball and certain blood types given an advantage in long-distance running. But that’s just my personal take on the question. Obviously, if Carol had competed before she got zapped by the psyche-magnitron, she’d be okay (and I think she’d also be a natural for biathlon given her background).

    @Margot –
    speaking of archers, I think I’d like to see both Hawkeyes at the Olympics. Well, I’m more of a Marvel guy (which results in the odd fact that I know and love Arrowette, but basically don’t know from any of DC’s other Arrow guys).

  • Sorry, Caroline, gotta disagree with you a bit – I can totally see John Stewart jumping at the chance to serve his country again … even if it means riding in an icy canoe.

  • @Art On reflection, Hal & John would also make a good team. Bruce could be their corporate sponsor!

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