Posted at 4:51 PM on August 21, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
I admit it. I've got Olympic fever. I never planned to give up two weeks of my life in front of the TV but, it happend.
I might have a little more time to get a life if there weren't so many questionable sports in these game so I've started a list of "sports" that I think should be banned from future Olympics. Among them:
Synchronized swimming - The crusty hair and makeup creeps me out.
Equestrian events - the horse does all the work.
Trampoline - what's next, competitive Slip n' Slide?
BMX - belongs in the X-games not the Olympic games.
Open water swimming - we don't have open water polo or diving.
Ping Pong - if it's in, billiards and darts also deserve a place.
Badminton - why not Jarts, horseshoes, bocce ball or croquet?
Fencing - with all the gadgets they wear it might as well be a video game.
What have I missed? Or what sport am I totally missing the boat on? Please educate me.
Actually, croquet, very popular in England, was played in the 1900 Olympics in London. However the Americans, playing for the first time, defeated the Brits and the UK asked the IOC to remove croquet from the Games. Now, when the world's top players come from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Scotland, it may come back in 2012.
I had no idea of croquet's Olympic history. I've also since learned that Tug-of-War was also an Olympic sport from 1900-1920.
Andrew, you're mixing up the history of croquet in the Olympics a bit. Croquet was a medal sport in the 1900 games in Paris, and France, with 9 of the 10 players, won all the medals. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croquet_at_the_1900_Summer_Olympics.
In 1904, the Olympics were held in St. Louis, Missouri USA and a new variant of croquet, called roque, was a medal sport. This time, the USA was the only country with players competing. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roque_at_the_1904_Summer_Olympics.
The 1900 and 1904 Olympic Games were the only ones to feature any version of croquet.
Rhythmic gymnastics? Why?
Fencing and Equestrian (particularly the Cross Country event) are like the shooting events. They are there because one of the purposes of the games was to allow countries to show that their young men were ready to do battle as well as the next country.
Granted the stated purpose of the games initially was about education and sport and all that. But once nations get involved its always about political superiority as displayed in athletic superiority. Hence the addition of table tennis, the sport that opened China to the west in the '70s.
My opinion is that the events included in the Olympics all require significant dedication and sacrifice on the part of the athlete to achieve the level needed to compete in the Olympic games. Its not about what we (or NBC for that matter) think are justifiable "sports". The IOC should be attempting to have enough variety of contests so that every nation that wishes to participate can send at least one athlete capable of competing in one of the events. If that means that certain activities that are not major sports in this country but might be in others are included so be it. Remember in some countries baseball is game played only by children. (Go Hawaii!)