If any of you follow me on Twitter you may have seen there was some fun banter about the Olympics and what sports I would and wouldn’t have if I ruled the world.
So that got me thinking and I decided to expand my reasoning in more than 140 characters!
Fundamentally, for a sport to be included in the Olympics it has to answer two questions:
- Are the Olympics the pinnacle of your sport?
- Are the results of your sport decided solely by subjective judging?
If the answer to question 1 is “No” and the answer to question 2 is “Yes” then, I’m sorry, but that sport has no place in the Fatsculler Olympics.
So what does that mean in practice….let’s look at the list of sports currently in the Olympics that fail on the “pinnacle” criteria;
Basketball – I reckon 99.9% of male basketball players would say their ambition would be to play in the NBA and win the championships….even college athletes would say their ambition would be to get into the NBA….not win the Olympics. So it’s OUT
Road Cycling – Yes, the Olympics are important to the cycling world. But from a road cycling perspective I reckon the pinnacle would be the Tour de France…..ask Wiggins or Froome or any of the others which is more important and they will pick Le Tour not the Olympics…OUT
Football – pretty obvious really…OUT
Golf – yeah, right…golf….in the Olympics….that’s just silly…OUT
Tennis – see “Golf”. Would any tennis player prefer to win the Olympics or a Grand Slam tournament? Exactly….OUT
Now, what about question 2…subjective judging. This is a bit more controversial. But, thinking of what the Olympics are about…”Faster, Higher, Stronger”….it doesn’t say anything about “prettier”. I will admit that one of the wonderful aspects of the Olympics is that for those two weeks we all become armchair experts in sports we would never otherwise watch….we try out best to learn the intricacies of vaulting, Synchro swimming and so on when in reality 99% of us haven’t got a clue what differentiates one performance from another. So this means that the following sports are OUT:
Diving – Sorry all you Tom Daley fans….Yes Diving takes bravery, skill, athleticism…but it is up to a group of people watching from the sidelines who performed the prettiest…so for that reason it’s OUT
Dressage – It requires a huge amount of skill, horse and rider in absolute harmony. As a spectacle it’s enthralling…as an Olympic sport….its failed my subjective judging criteria….OUT
Gymnastics – This, I imagine, will cause most outrage. Artistic gymnastics is fantastic. The skills shown by the top gymnasts is nothing short of super-human and I am a definite armchair fan. But, again, it is up to someone sitting on their backside to decide which elfin star performed a vault more accurately. So it’s out I’m afraid (in all its forms)
Synchronised Swimming – Never been convinced about this as a sport. Yes, I can appreciate the skill and artistry but…no – OUT
Trampoline – Same as gymnastics and diving I’m afraid….OUT
Now then…..combat sports….Boxing, Judo, taekwondo, wrestling. It’s a close run thing. But the outcome of each bout is not solely reliant on the judges….it can be won by a knock-out. So, By the skin of their teeth these sports remain (although boxing judging really needs to sort itself out). Boxing also sneaks in in the “pinnacle” criteria as it is the ultimate aim of amateur boxing, not the professional version
So that, briefly, is my manifesto….like it or hate it…let me know!