We only get steady coverage of Olympic sports once every four years. Because of this, I have little ability to understand or appreciate some of the events that I’m unfamiliar with, like say Handball or Badminton. As the summer games enter their second week, Gymnastics and Swimming give way to some of the second-tier events that are supposed to tide us over until the Sprinting begins.
This means that we’re getting to the point in the Olympic Games where the events are becoming more difficult to watch. This isn’t because the coverage is bad, or because the athletes aren’t very good, it’s just that there are some events that are so disconnected from any reality that it can be difficult to understand what is happening on the screen… and why?
Take the Triple Jump for instance. Was there a time in history when sequential jumping was an everyday necessity? Stringing three successive, yet different, jumps together is actually something more common in a Super Mario game isn’t it? And how did we determine that three jumps was better than two and that four were too many? Why not just let the person continue jump after jump until they can’t jump anymore? I say that the person who gets the furthest around the track gets the gold.
I understand that there was a time when throwing a javelin was essential to human survival, but hasn’t hitting something with said javelin always been the historical point of javelin throwing? How come there aren’t any targets? It also doesn’t help the uneducated viewer that the officials don’t leave the previous javelin stuck into the ground to that you can see who’s has gone the furthest. How about spicing the javelin event up by having it become about accuracy instead of distance. I’m not saying that we put people innocent people in danger, but can’t we at least skewer some innocent watermelons?
To make these middle-weeks of the games more interesting than ever, here are 13 more ideas that I respectfully submit to the International Olympic Committee:
Pole Vault: Is it possible to have the vaulter go over an actual wall or castle battlement? Maybe they have a teammate who catches them on the other side? How about also letting them go for distance too? Like maybe they’ve gotta shoot themselves across a river? Think about it.
Discus: Haven’t we invented about 3,000 different materials that fly farther than wood and metal? Why not let those guys give it a crack with an Aerobie? Also let’s put the event on the beach and make the thrower have to find his keys in the sand before his frisbee hits the ground.
Steeplechase: This is a distance race that is so long that they have put a giant hurdle and water pit on the track to keep it interesting. Since everybody runs through that waterhazard anyway, make the water deeper and stinkier, and put alligators in it… to keep everybody honest.
Equestrian: He does all the work but doesn’t get to stand on the white box at the end? How is the horse not the one that gets the medal? Put the horse on the podium too. And allow him to wear a golden, unicorn type-hat to impress the fillies.
Tug Of War: Bring it back, but have the coed tug-teams formed by selecting 1 athlete from each country’s different disciplines. You could have mountain bikers, gymnasts, swimmers, and a horse all teamed up to drag somebody through a mud pit!
Hammer Throw: How about throwing an actual hammer? If not, change the name. It’s confusing for everybody.
Boxing: Final Four boxers compete at the same time. Four different countries, one ring. Last man standing gets the gold, second to last gets silver, and so on…
Shot put: Nothing is getting “Shot” or “Put” anywhere. More people might watch this if it was called ”Cannon Ball Throw”.
Sailing: I know that piracy has made a big comeback in recent years. Is there any way that this event could be combined with “Cannon Ball Throw”? And while we are combining events to make them more awesome, couldn’t Tae Kwon Do and Fencing be combined into a single event called “Jedi-ing.”
Shooting: Firing an air gun isn’t really an athletic event is it? It’s actually a skill right? Let’s have the competitors shoot while running. Better yet, have them shoot AT EACH OTHER while running around. (Relax, it’s just a bb gun.)
Wresting: Allow a chair or folding table to be used once per event.
The Olympics are too important a cultural event to let slide into mediocrity. Instituting even one of these ideas could help some events not only “get over the mid-week hump”, they could make the ones that feel like the Mayflower Dog Show seem a little bit more like “Wipeout”.
If you have any ideas for spicing up an Olympic event, I want to hear them. Especially if they involve fire, lasers, or tigers. Possibly all three. Feel free to post below.
P.S. How is Ping Pong an Olympic Sport but Golf isn’t?