In keeping with all the Olympic hype, it seems appropriate to write an entry on this, the last day of this year's Beijing Olympics. The USA Basketball team have just redeemed themselves after years of failure at the international level (their last national success was gold in Sydney 2000), and being the hardcore basketball fan that I am, I regret not being able to watch it. Basketball; now that's what I call sport! Athleticism, speed, stamina, strength, strategy, agility and cheerleaders. You couldn't ask for more! Football may be the 'beautiful game' and the sport that is most steeped in history, but nothing beats the thrill of stepping onto the court for me.
We all have our favourite sports; either we enjoy watching it or playing it, and what better showcase than the Olympics to do either. However, I sometimes wonder if the definition for 'sport' and 'game' has been somewhat blurred over the years.
Which brings me to - "Darkside Daily's List Of The Week".
In this edition, we shall focus on Olympic events whose inclusion in the games can be described as ludicrous at best.
I don't understand how this works. Table tennis is a sport that is restricted to China, Japan and parts of South East Asia. How does it become an Olympic sport? Take this years games for example; Bronze - China, Silver - China, Gold - China. Yes, international sport indeed. In fact, as mentioned in one of the links in my previous post, the governing body for table tennis is considering major changes in the sport to try and boost its waning popularity globally; i.e., ladies, please ditch the baggy shorts and shirts, and dial Miss Sharapova's number pronto! More nations play rugby, cricket and golf; yet to even consider making these sports an Olympic event is laughed at.
Like most people, I don't understand baseball. Maybe it's because I've grown up following cricket, the sport from which baseball is supposed to be derived from. But I can accept that it is at least a sport, even if it's international appeal is also in question. So why include softball as well? Softball is a watered down version of baseball, and in almost all respects is identical to baseball. It's sort of like touch football (American football without the tackling), and played only for fun or by women. For the IOC to allow both versions of the game to become Olympics events is just bizarre, and apparently even they agree; neither sport will be featured in the 2012 London Olympics. Perhaps the paralympics then...?
3. Triple Jump
I love athletics, and I think no event captures the real essence and character of the Olympic games than track & field. Here is the one platform where all competitors are equals, where an advantage with regards to facililties and training programmes does not play as big a role as other sports. Jamaica proved to the world that all the high-tech conditioning and training programmes in the world can't beat pure speed and desire. But there's one event that I just don't understand, and that is triple jump. We have long jump, we have high jump; who invented the triple jump?? It's almost as if someone was on his run up for the long jump, jumped too early, kept going, jumped too early again, kept going and finally jumped into the pit; then when faced with the puzzled onlookers, he said "Triple jump; pretty cool huh?" In long jump, the purpose is to jump the farthest distance. Fair enough. In triple jump, the purpose is to jump the farthest distance AFTER jumping twice already. As a measure of athletic ability, it is a complete disaster.
Apparently I was all wrong about the Olympics. See, I thought it was a tournament to promote international goodwill through the spirit of sportsmanship by competing in events to measure athletic prowess. Naturally I just assumed that we'd leave the animals out of this. But no, we have Olympic events to judge how high we can make horses jump, how well we can make them look while jumping, and how well they look while jumping together as a group. The Olympics is probably the only place where men who sit on horses are considered 'athletes', which I believe is just absolute cock! To prove my point, look at this years events. Several animals were found to have illegal substances in their system and were disqualified from the competition. Now, if the riders really were the so-called 'athletes', why in the God's name are they doping the horses?!
1. Synchronised Swimming
A picture speaks a thousand words. So feast your eyes on these.
I rest my case.