Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Olympic Sports That Aren't "Olympian"

You can read today's story that the USA Olympic Dressage team was stripped of its fourth place finish HERE. The story got me to thinking. There are some olympic sports that just plain suck. Here's my list of the top 10 non-olympian Olympic "sports."

Numbers 10 through 7- These sports have some merit, but they just aren't working out.

#10 Baseball. "What!?" you ask. "Baseball is the greatest!" "Its America's Game!" Well, sure. Call me a commie or whatever, but facts is facts. There's only about 5 countries that are any good at baseball and the rest of the world sucks. Did you watch China's baseball team? Plus team USA was a bunch of college kids. I mean who the hell cares? I'd rather watch spring training than this garbage. Nice try baseball, but stick to MLB and don't foist this borefest on us.

#9 Shooting. Any of the shooting sports, including skeet, biathlon (which is just silly), and rifle and pistol games. Yes I know the "military purpose" of the original games. But that doesn't hold water these days. The olympics is about sport and making cash for the sponsors. We don't measure military preparedness by Olympic shooting performance. Target shooting is a fine pastime. But that don't make it "Olympian."

#8- Curling. Sorry Canada. Look, I enjoy the old game of shuffleboard is much as the next guy. Especially when they have those cool wooden tables with metal disks at the bar with a few beers. But Curling takes it too far. Its basically shuffleboard on ice. The worst part though is the silly guy who runs ahead of the rock with that broom and sweeps it like he's a madman. That is just plain dumb. It looks like one of those sports you made up as a kid with whatever you could find.

#7 Equestrian. Horse jumping may be a jolly good show, but it just isn't olympian. Now if they had swords and shields or were pulling carriages in the Circus Maximus, then you might be on to something cool. Horse battles would be good. Horse jumping --not so much. Perhaps they could make JOUST an olympic event? That would be good if they used real lances and not that balsa wood garbage they use for the cheesy Vegas shows and geeky renaissance fairs.

Numbers 6 through 3 -The sports for the kids who weren't good enough to make the team.
These are all events that look somewhat like real sports. But when you get down to brass tacks, these are all variants of the real sports designed to give the second-rate athletes something to feel good about. Next time just give them a participation ribbon and we'll save a lot of time and money.

#6 Trampoline - Actually kind of fun to watch, in a Man Show kind of way. These are talented folks who do get way up in the air, but they're just not good enough to make the real gymnastics team. Of course, they could be used as the feeder system for made-for-TV "sport" Slamball. And that's something I suppose. Sorry Trampoliners, you're good, but you're just not olympian.

#5 Rhythmic Gymnastics - Hoops and ribbons just ain't olympic! This Ballet-meets-gymnastics thingy is interesting on occasion but usually is just a bore. Plus it suffers from random judging. To continue the theme, it would be good if two competitors went at the same time and they could throw their toys...err..equipment at each other. Make the balls spiked and I think we have a winner here.

#4 Synchronized Diving - Pretty impressive to watch. But then you remember, these are the guys who couldn't dive well enough to make the team, so they just try to dive exactly like their partner. Interesting in some artistic way I suppose. But a sport of mimicry for the guys who couldn't make the team just doesn't cut it. Plus the judging appears to be made up on the spot. When you watch it they all look pretty good.

#3 Synchronized Swimming --Sure you have to be a good swimmer to do this. But so what? Plus the makeup and outfits basically render these women water clowns. And no way can "Water Clown Performance" be considered olympian.

Numbers 1 and 2 are the kind of sports that if your brother won a medal, you wouldn't tell anyone. Not even your shrink.

#2 Race Walking. I mean, come on. Is this a SNL skit? These guys walk really fast. That's it. Utter boredom combined with uber-geek factor = ugh. Plus most of these guys have Magnum P.I. mustaches. My question is, what makes a person interested in race walking in the first place? Is it some arcane tradition passed down from goofy father to nerdy son? Bob Costas should be asking this question during Olympic TV coverage.

The NUMBER ONE worst sport of all time: Dressage.
As noted above, Yahoo and others are reporting that the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team is being stripped of its 4th place finish in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Frankly I think this is a good thing. Because Dressage sucks. There is no way around it. What a dumb sport. It makes synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics look awesome. I watched for about 15 minutes when coverage of the "event" came on during my fantasy football draft.

Dressage is simply guys (and gals) in stupid equestrian riding gear trotting around a ring at relatively slow speeds while meeting specific technical requirements. They don't jump anything, they don't lasso anything, and they don't race anything. This is a "sport" for folks with no coordination or skills, but with tons of money to buy outstanding horses, equipment and coaching. Plus they need to be trust-fund babies so that they can "work" at this full time with no need for a job. In other words, Charles III and Mitzi are the only ones who have the money and interest to pursue this crap.

This "sport" must be removed from the olympics. It is an utter disgrace. Plus its name is French.

So, what do you think? Did I miss one? Did I slam your favorite? Comment away!


jutwinbaby said...

I’m convinced they keep certain sports in the Olympics just to keep folks watching. Who hasn’t watched curling on TV and thought to himself, “Man, I could do that.” Same goes for any of the shooting sports, including archery. Didn’t some actress train for a couple of weeks and make the U.S. Olympic Archery team? Race walking? I see people doing that everyday trying to make it into the elevator while the people inside pretend like they don’t see the person. Oops, someone “accidentally” pressed the close door button again. When are they going to write some words to sing along with the Olympic theme song?

Chas Hustle said...

See "The Medal Count", supra (August 18, 2008), posted by Chas Hustle.

Apparently Joe Biden blogs too.

pagondas said...

Race walking is as legitimate a track and field event as breast stroke is a legitimate swimming event. If swimmers could use whatever stroke they wanted, they would use the fastest - American crawl. In race walking, the "stroke" stipulates that one foot must always be touching the ground. Clearly this opens the gateway for other track "strokes" such as running backward, etc. But if you're going to condemn race walking, you'd have to take a harder look at a lot of other events as well.

Plus, where's beach volleyball?

Anonymous said...

After consultation with outside sources. I have created a criteria for determining the merit of olympic sports and to determine which should be allowed to remain:

1) As stated in an earlier post - no sports that are played at picnics with a red cup in your hand or that you play better drunk. This eliminates softball, ping pong, badminton, beach volley ball and for the bourgie class, sailing. I cannot confirm it, but I would strongly suspect that this eliminates curling as well. Some claim to be able to play basketball with beer in hand - I will count this as the first strike against basketball.

2) No sport that is included in cirque du soliel, demonstrated at amusement parks or was already used in the opening ceremonies. This covers many of Todd's issues. Gone are synchronized swimming, diving (including synchronized diving), rythmic gymnastics and trampoline.

3) No sport that has a championship bigger than the Olympics. This is some small sport athletes one shining moment. For others, it's something to do in the off season. This would eliminate soccer, tennis, baseball, and road cycling. This would be basketball's second strike.

4) No X games sports. This is just because I am a crabby crusty salty old dude.

5) No sport in which something other than the athlete produces the bulk of the energy expended. Motor boating was once in the olympics - it is justifiably gone. This would cover any equestrian events and prohibt any motorized sports. May even be a case for no shooting events.

6) Remove any sport which is a less strenous version of an existing sport. Ex: Race walking is bastard weenie version of the marathon. Aside, how would western history have been different if Pheidippides had "race walked" back and forth from Marathonn to Athens. He may have survived but we may also be speaking pharsi right now. This would eliminate ice dance (all the dance, none of the jumps), the aforementioned race walking, and short track speed skating (and thus spare us Anton ohno).

Sluggo's sister said...

Sorry but biathlon is awesome. You have to see it in person; it's amazing. Skiing up hills at top speed and then calming the body down enough to shoot successfully at targets is difficult and requires physical and mental strength.

Todd said...

Eating bugs on weak-ass reality TV shows takes a certain amount of will too, but that doesn't make it olympic. Moreover, tests are showing that shooters get those "calm" arms by using steroids because of the beta-blockers. I'm tired of cheaters in sport.

PNWBuckeye said...

Seriously Todd, you are way off base on biathlon. I have competed in one (the real kind in winter where you ski around the woods with a gun on your back). It is a very difficult sport. As to your cheater comment, where there is competition, there are going to be cheaters, so don't call out biathlon without your other beloved sports of football, baseball and soccer, the homes of quite a few cheaters as well. Get some knowledge here:
It is the most popular winter sport in Europe. It ain't synchronized swimming. And BTW, where is curling on your list, did I miss it?