Monday, August 25, 2008

Thoughts on The Olympic Games: Suggested Changes

The Olympics, I thought, went pretty well—particularly since they were held in a communistic country. The Americans won a lot of medals, and NBC had the good sense to broadcast the national anthem a little more frequently this time, and gymnastics a little less.

I have said for some time now that the number of "sports" in the Summer Olympics is too high. Certain ones should be trimmed out. Here are some rules I would suggest the IOC follow:

  • All competitions that require the use of judges to determine scores and winners should be eliminated as official events. All competitions should be subject to objective measurement of time and/or length and/or scoring (or in the case of weightlifting, mass). It is understood that referees and other officials must make pronouncements on the legality of certain elements of competition, but judges who "award" medals are far too subject to subjective and even (gasp!) biased determinations. Eliminates: Gymnastics (unless, for example, they can change dismounts to a distance sport), diving, trampoline
  • All competitions that are "sports" practiced in only a small percentage of the world's countries or by only a trivial number of people should be eliminated. Eliminates: Rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, trampoline; Sailing, badminton, team handball, field hockey, and beach volleyball are brought into question
  • Barbaric competitions, competitions that are little more than "sports-related pornography," and competitions that are performed on motorbikes should be eliminated. Eliminates, respectively: Boxing, beach volleyball (think about it: Why was this on TV so much??), BMX (perhaps the most ridiculous Olympic event ever)
  • All track and field events should be kept. All events which have a historic significance or were part of the original Greek games should be kept. Keeps: All track and field events, archery, fencing, pentathlon, decathlon, etc.
  • Events involving personal protection/self-defense should be kept. Keeps: Shooting, judo, taekwondo, wrestling. Boxing does not qualify here.
  • Team sports with world-wide appeal should be kept. Keeps: Baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, regular volleyball (the kind with teams of six). Not sure if water polo, table tennis, and field hockey belong here....
Similar considerations should be given for the Winter Olympics, too.

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