November 27, 2002

The Olympics have gotten too big and need to shrink.: Dick Pound will argue this week that the IOC needs to "begin culling the events before we see gold medals being awarded in mall walking and spelling bees," as columnist Roy MacGregor puts it. While ballroom dancing, cheerleading and chess clamour for Olympic recognition, baseball, softball and modern pentathlon may be on the block. Realistically, which events should go?

posted by mcwetboy to other at 07:11 AM - 14 comments

Defining what a sport is or is not is a tough call. As I have mentioned before, sports that rely heavily on aesthetic judgements seem more to be about art or entertainment. This is not to deny that there is athleticism involved, but it makes for messier definitions--not to mention messier outcomes (think figure skating). But it seems that the real question is, should all sports be included in the Olympics. The Olympics seem to validate a sport, and maybe more importantly offer a sport some funding. But what makes a sport worthy to be in the Olympics? It can't simply be the fact that a sport is a sport, can it? There have to be some other criteria (e.g., "a sport had to be played by at least 75 countries on four continents").

posted by jacknose at 07:51 AM on November 27

I would hate to see baseball and softball leave the Olympics, but replacing them with rugby and golf would be ok with me. I'd rather see baseball leave to be replaced with men's softball, but that's unrealistic. With Samaranch (sp) now gone from the head of the Olympics, I fear there will be an anti-American backlash, not just for waht happened during the Salt Lake scandal, but with the obvious courting of the American television audience by the IOC from 1984 until 2000. Here's my list of what should go and what should come into the games: Boot: baseball (reluctantly) modern pentathlon synchronized swimming synchronized diving weightlifting Add: rugby golf lacrosse bowling

posted by jasonbondshow at 09:20 AM on November 27

I agree, some sports need to go. For the summer Olympics, I'd get rid of modern pentathlon, rhythm gymnastics, synchronised diving and beach volleyball, all on the grounds they are silly sports. I'd get rid of Greco-Roman wrestling, on the grounds that it's irrelevent. I'd get rid of baseball and softball, since they are not global enough. Other sports could be pruned: the walking events in athletics, for example. Rugby Sevens would make a very good Olympic sport. As this article points out, a whole load of sports should be jettisoned before adding any more.

posted by salmacis at 09:22 AM on November 27

Here's an older thread about baseball being dropped from the Olympics. If baseball is dropped, then another sport should replace it. I'd enjoy watching rugby, and would hopefully learn a good bit about it from the Olympics. I would also pare down some of the trendy xtreme sports, like snowboarding and whatnot. They're a lot of fun to watch, but they just don't seem 'Olympic' to me. The X-Games are a lot better for it anyways. A lot of Olympic Sports seem to be the only way for a lot of athletes to truly compete to be the best in the world, and that's kind of the point IMO. That's what I like about it. And as useless as synchronized diving is, it's damn impressive to watch.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:13 AM on November 27

Salmacis, you can't get rid of Greco-Roman wrestling! That's the most Olympic of all sports. Except it was slightly gayer back in the day. On another note, olympic lacrosse would be great to watch.

posted by Samsonov14 at 10:16 AM on November 27

Trampoline.

posted by mcwetboy at 10:24 AM on November 27

Anything to do with judging has got to go. That means synchro-swimming, diving, gymnastics (it'll never happen), figure skating (ditto), mogul skiing, aerial ski jumping, ski jumping (unless they stick to strictly distance measurements and legal landings), half-pipe snowboarding and...I think that's it. Boxing used to be on that list but I believe they've instituted a point-scoring system for punches landed now and judges are rendered irrelevant.

posted by grum@work at 10:36 AM on November 27

Count me among the supporters for olympic lacrosse. Does that mean that the Iroquois get to send a delegation?

posted by trox at 10:47 AM on November 27

The olympics have lost all their relevance for me. Really, they just aren't that interesting, as a comptetion anymore. Maybe it's the tv coverage that trys to package it as something great and reverent, I really can't stomach it.

posted by corpse at 11:05 AM on November 27

The Olympics are moving and exciting and all kinds of swell stuff, but I get tired of them being used as a barometer of "what's a sport and what's not." I don't need the Olympics to tell me what's a sport; I watch them and decide for myself. This is the same reason I dislike halls of fame; all they seem to do is lead to lengthy arguments about worthiness.

posted by JanetLand at 11:26 AM on November 27

I'm with grum. Get rid of all those aesthetically-judged sports. All of them. Especially ice skating (don't get me started). I also want them to get rid of the "tragedy-to-triumph" stories. And Bob Costas. We should bring back gladiator sports, tho. No blood, no foul. Choose your weapon (or we can have different weapon and weight classes). Last man standing wins. No silver, no bronze. And chariot races. Yeah. Horses. Big wheels with spikes. Oh yeah.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:30 AM on November 27

I'll watch almost anything for the sheer joy of seeing people who are great at something. It's fun to spend a little time with something new, learning rules and trying to predict winners. Team handball? Count me in on a lazy summer afternoon. The exception to this is beach volleyball; the posturing, piss'n'moan players are intolerable, and it's just boring as hell next to real volleyball. That said, the only judged sport I really go in for is wrestling--and judging can a major factor, as anyone who's ever been to a big meet can tell you. And anything that relies on aesthetic judgements is about half a sport.

posted by jason streed at 11:32 AM on November 27

Dick Pound. Huh huh huh.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:51 PM on November 27

Anything to do with judging has got to go. That means...gymnastics (it'll never happen) No, just replace it with gymkata.

posted by eckeric at 10:08 AM on December 02

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