Suggestions for New Olympic Sports
Get ready to latch on to human interest stories and hometown hero's...the winter Olympic games are finally upon us! Over 80 nations and 5500 athletes ready to take Vancouver by storm (albeit a storm without snow). Like many Olympic games, the winter version, circa 2010 has a couple new wrinkles to it. While the staples of figure skating, luge and ski jumping remain in tact, a new favorite is about to emerge. For the first time ever, snow cross will make it's debut in Vancouver (think motocross and snowboard cross).
The IOC is continuously searching for new events (for both summer and winter games) to captivate the minds of the viewing public. They hit a home run with women's beach volleyball, but whiffed with trampolining. To assist the IOC in further advancing Olympic sport, I thought I would come to the table with a few prototype events certain to make a big splash.
Here are my suggestions for future Olympic sports.
No longer would Angola have to worry about stopping Dwayne Wade in the open court, or Dwight Howard hitting his knees on the rim while snaring a rebound - the playing field would be pretty equal. The U.S. team would be coached by someone with a history of great shot making...like former Globetrotter, Meadowlark Lemon. The rules would be simple: double elimination pool play in the team competition, and an individual competition. Unlike figure skating or diving, there would be no subjective judging the difficulty of the shot - you either make it or you don't. Next shooter!
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: Argentina
INDIVIDUAL FAVORITES: Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs guard; playing for home country of Argentina); Steve Nash (playing for Canada); Kevin Love (playing for United States, Love has a history of making full court shots in warm-ups with regularity - click here)
Way back in 1900 this was an Olympic sport and I think it needs to come back. The summer games need to have a sport where the Olympic dream remains alive for the better half of the population...after all, the winter Olympics has curling. Croquet takes on a bit of a different twist than most Olympic sports - unsportsmanlike conduct is somewhat encouraged. Where else can you whack someone else's ball clear to the other side of the lawn and giggle at their misfortune? The scoring is simple; first to finish wins - no complicated judging. I also think American's would appreciate the terminology such as "Irish peel", "wicket" and "booby".
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: France (click here to see why)
It seems to fit the mold of traditional Olympic sports. It's a team game where the athletes are well conditioned and Olympic gold would be the pinnacle achievement in the sport. For those who prefer football, but hate soccer, this is a nice alternative. There would also be one hell of a halftime show with dogs from different countries catching the discs as the fans in the stands erupt with applause.
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: Brazil...just a hunch
You've watched in on ESPN 2 at 3:00am, now watch comfortably in your living room during prime time. Competitors will carry slabs of granite shaped like Africa across a smoldering bed of coals, pull an 18-wheeler 50 meters with their teeth, and push California redwood trees up staircases.
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: Iceland. The brut power of Magnus Ver Magnussen earns Olympic gold.
Admittedly, I haven't spent too much time watching cricket, but from what I can tell, it's fast, fun, and matches are pretty quick (unlike the 20k race walk). This would be a very intriguing sport that would educate the unenlightened viewer. The arena is circular. Competitors can hit a version of a home run backwards; and players wield around over sized fraternity paddles at a wooden ball coming in at 80mph on a bounce. Some fielders don't even get the benefit of a glove! It would be like teeing up a Titleist 50 yards from a friend and ripping a screamer at their chest expecting them to catch it with their hands. American's would also fall in love with the term, "wicked googly".
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: South Africa
This sport is dubbed as the fastest sport on earth because the ball that is used has a traveling speed of up to 188mph. The ball is placed into play and volleyed by players wearing a glove with an attached wicker basket. The ball is about the size of a baseball, is covered in goat skin for some reason, and absolutely whistles through the air. Remember the TV show Jackass? They once did a clip on the show where Jai Alai players took turns slinging oranges at the backside of Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O. Click here to watch it.
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: Great Brittain
If you've seen the movie, you know the learning curve would be short as a variety of countries would already be familiar with the concept. The rules are simple: teams of two would race from the furthest point possible (connected by land) to the Olympic host country. This would be the first official event and it would air in conjunction with the opening ceremonies. Winning team gets to light the torch. Burt Reynolds would captain the American team.
COUNTRY WITH AN EDGE: Which ever country is hosting the games
In summary, skiing is fun, and figure skating brings the family together at night, but broadening the spectrum of Olympic sports can only help the world become more educated and united. More sports = more country involvement (after all, you don't hear much about Ireland in the winter Olympics or Norway in the summer games).
Let the games begin!
Sports that didn't quite make the cut: pool, lawn darts, shot luge, dizzy bat race, speed quarters, text messaging, logging, whiffle ball, anything on the Wii.