Getting into the game by Chris Clark
The Olympics are all about being the best in the world. I get that.
The Olympic motto of “faster, higher, stronger” outlines perfectly what the Games are all about; namely athletic skill, speed and strength. I get that too.
What I can’t wrap my head around is how the International Olympic Committee decides what should be an Olympic event. The Games have become a massive undertaking, ballooning to about two dozen sports, 300 events and 10,000 athletes every four years. The time has come to trim the fat.
First on my list of Olympic events to get rid of is dressage, a kind of horse ballet where much of the skill belongs to the horse. If horses feel the need to compete, they should have their own Games, and their own system for drug testing. Before you know it, there could be medals for dog walking and egg laying.
The IOC should remove all forms of ballet from sports, including such Olympic silliness as synchronized swimming and artistic gymnastics. Athletic achievement should be left to the athlete, and not to the whims of a judge.
Archery is an Olympic event dating back to ancient times. Today, however, the shooting events are dominated by high tech and precision instruments. If you really want to test an athlete’s steady draw, have them run up a ski hill or around the track while firing away at moving targets.
Swimming is an integral part of the Olympics, but 34 pool events is far too many. It’s hard to call a swimmer the greatest athlete of all time when you can medal in a half dozen similar events. I wonder how many gold medals sprinter Usain Bolt would win if he was allowed to run the 100m shuffle, 100m tippy-toe, 200m backwards run, and 4×100 bunny hop relay.
There are also many legitimate events that could be cut from the Olympic roster, simply because no one cares about them save a diehard few. I would get rid of sailing, table tennis, speed walking, and water polo; at least until they get rid of those funky hats.
What the IOC should do is consider bringing back a few events from days gone by, such as tug of war, rope climbing and underwater swimming. In 1900, the Olympics featured live pigeon shooting and poodle clipping. The gold medallist took 71 pigeons, and the winning clipper shaved 17 dogs. Hopefully, the medals went to the animals that year.
The event I would love to see return is high diving. No acrobatics and no judges, just someone diving straight into the water from higher and higher and higher. I could watch that for hours.
Olympic athletes originally competed in the nude, and there’s no reason why we couldn’t get back to that kind of athletic purity. It likely won’t catch on in today’s televised world, but it sure would be fun. I say, go for it; and may the best event win.