Thursday, August 14, 2008

Questions about the Olympics

Starting with the stunning opening ceremonies last Friday, I've watched a lot more Olympics than I thought I would. But all that watchin' got me to thinkin'.
  • Why can't we bring back tug-of-war?

    As an old college friend once pointed out (we were in school together at the time of Atlanta 1996), many Olympic sports pre-date the invention of balls. Think about it: running fast and straight, running for a really long time, throwing the javelin (which is just a caveman's spear) ... all of these are ancient, from before team sports were organized. So if we're going to have sports without round objects, why not former Olympic event tug-of-war?

  • I'm sure swimming backwards is difficult...I can't even pat my head/rub my stomach. And yet, why is it that Natalie Coughlin is the only Olympic swimmer who has difficulty with this? Can't she just ask one of her teammates, or her coach? "Psst, Katie! ... how do you keep from running into the lane markers on the backstroke?...."

    Maybe this guy can give Natalie some tips.

  • Why aren't the Greeks and Italians the best at Greco-Roman wrestling?

  • And why isn't America taking all the shooting categories? Aren't we the most gun-happy country on the planet? We have more gun deaths in a day than Japan has in a decade.* Why can't all the gun nuts from Texas and Kentucky put down the moonshine long enough to train for the Olympics and bring home the gold? Hell, if they win silver or bronze, they can put the medal on a fence post and use it for target practice.

  • Can Michael Phelps please represent all the success for University of Meeechigan-affiliated athletics for the rest of 2008? That includes Tom Brady, the football team, the basketball team, Jalen Rose, whatever, I don't care, I really just care about the football team.

    America: Yaaaay!! University of Mitten: Boooooo!

  • How has modern pentathlon survived? Check out this description from the official Olympics website:

    Modern Pentathlon is an educational sport. This was the primary wish of its creator, Pierre de Coubertin. A complete sport, on the physical side - Swimming and Running are the basic disciplines; on the mental side – Shooting requires stress control and a precise technique; on the intellectual side – Fencing requires adaptability and intelligence; Riding an unknown horse requires a mix of adaptability, self-control and courage.

    Isn't there some other way in the 21st century of advocating brains, courage and physical health besides this combination?

  • And just because it needs to be repeated until corrected: you're telling me they got room for ping pong and horseys but not baseball?!?

Okay, enjoy the rest of the Olympics. Football will be here soon (two weeks from today actually).

* -- Statistical estimation. Probably accurate.


83F said...

...why isn't golf an Olympic sport? Seriously.

mpf004 said...


it used to be, just like tug o war.