One thing I was surprised by was the lack of any new sports introduced during these Olympics, again I wonder if this is more thrifty government penny pinching at work.
Now, its not my cup of tea, but it beggars belief that the brit’s won’t introduce a sport like Cricket (I mean its not as if the country is short of cricket grounds to host the tournament!) While it mightnt be as popular in the UK as it used to be, its practically the national sport in India, Pakistan and the West Indies. It clearly meets the criteria of being played on all five continents, and would be very popular in many countries (again, like India) who normally don’t pay attention to the Olympics.
Okay, again, not my cup of tea, as I never went to a public school (thank fuck for that!). But again, a very popular sport with many, a sport with a large worldwide audience and one where the Brit’s stand a good chance of getting a medal (and Ireland too!).
Rock climbing, Bouldering & Fell running
my own particular sport is mountaineering, arguably a winter sport when its snowing…or a water sport when its raining! Now while its not the sort of sport you give out medals for (surviving and getting to the pub okay is the reward, so the medal would likely have to be a pint of Larger or wheat beer for the winner, pint of white lighting for 2nd place and a pint of bitter for 3rd).
But there are one or two sub sets of mountaineering that easily translate into an Olympics friendly sport. Sports climbing (indoors on a climbing wall), speed climbing (two climbers set off and race each other up a climbing route) or bouldering (short distance climbing without a rope, you never get more than a few feet off the ground, but the moves are often harder…..as in you’re hanging upside down by your arms sometimes!). In all cases its a combination of dexterity, strength and intelligence. While its a relatively niche sport, it does have a worldwide following and its a great spectator sport, so it meets all the relevant criteria. Again, fell running (essentially running up a mountain and back down again), while not exactly my cup of tea either, but its a good spectator sport.
One of the things Ive never understood about the Olympics is having Dressage and Show Jumping, but not motor-sports? I mean all the rider does is sit on the horse, surely the horse should get the medal? Now you might well argue that all a guy on, say, a superbike, just sits there, but actually motorsports is a fairly physical sport, both from the high G forces experienced, but also with sports like bike racing the need to maintain balance. So I would argue that if the horses stay, then equally we need to introduce some motorsports.
Admittedly, there is the issue of technology, who wins at formula one is as much about the car as it is the driver (a bad driver can’t win, even with the best car possible, but the best driver in the world would still struggle to win in a bad car). So you’d need to correct that by giving all drivers a standard car of some sorts. It would also make sense to stick to things like Superbikes or Rally cars, as they are relatively cheap (compared to Formula one!) and can take place on an open country circuit.
Which sports should be dropped?
Of course, talking about new sports, brings up the topic of what sports to get rid of. Softball and baseball were dropped some time ago. Is it perhaps time to get rid of Handball? I mean what’s the point of it? (I caught a game awhile ago, Argentina were playing, and I was surprised to see Maradona not on the team!). As I mentioned already, if motorsports are seen as beyond the Pale, then Dressage and all the Horsing around should go also. Then there’s diving, I mean either ditch this or introduce a new category for bombing! And how about indoor Volleyball? There’s already Beach Volleyball, why two types? (mind you, beach volleyball’s only being in the schedule because soft porn isn’t an actual sport!).
And while we’re talking about it, then there’s the Beeb’s coverage of the Olympics. As a neutral I’m more interested in the actual sports, whereas the Beeb seem to be more interested in running montages and tributes to British athletes. I mean, they’ll spending 30 minutes talking about Jessica Ennis, then ideally mention that someone else just broke a world record, won a gold medal, all time best ever, etc., now lets get back to that action replay of Ennis sneezing.
Now, okay, the Irish do tend to go on a lot about our athletes, but in between they do sort of see the point in showing some sports action. They’ll even show medal ceremonies in which no Irish athletes get a medal at (gasp!). The Beeb just don’t seem to have their priorities straight.