February 21, 2014
Say you’ve enjoyed the Olympic Winter Games, but couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing, that there could be more diversity as far as competition. Are you worried that when the summer games roll around in two years, you will once again be thinking the same thing? Wondering what if? Well, I know the feeling.
With that in mind, I’ve done a little research into the Olympics’ illustrious past and found some sports, well, that may be using that term loosely, that could be revived in order to add a spark to future games. Now, these sports were all once part of either the winter or summer games if only for a short time. Somehow, they didn’t catch on. Why, I know not.
One event, the tug-of-war competition, made five appearances in the Olympic Games from 1900-1920. Now, what better way to prove which country is stronger than having a tug of war, I ask you? Some people say the Olympics is about the athletes, not the countries. To that I say, balderdash, it is all about the countries. Plus, the tug of war has a controversial history.
During the 1908 games in London, the American team was soundly beaten in the first pull by the Liverpool Police team. The Americans launched a protest, claiming the boots worn by the British team constituted illegal footwear. The British team countered that the boots were part of the standard police attire, the protest was disallowed and the Americans withdrew with their panties in a wad. We need payback.
Another thrilling sport that needs a rebirth is croquet, which only appeared in the 1900 games in Paris. Despite the excitement that terrific lawn sport can produce, only 10 competitors were entered, nine of them from France. The competition included three events (one and two balls) and doubles. All the competitors in the one-ball competition were wounded war veterans. As one might expect, France, led by Pepe le Pew, swept the medals.
Those same Paris Olympics also had one of the most outrageous events ever to grace the field of competition – the live pigeon shoot. Yes, live pigeons. By the time the smoke had cleared, nearly 300 pigeon lay dead or dying, marking the only time in Olympic history that animals were killed. The outrage expressed by animal activists was so great it forced the Olympics to switch to clay pigeons. To this day, the International Olympic Committee has been reluctant to verify it. But it happened, oh yes, it happened.
Now, there was another shooting event called the 100-meter running deer shoot that was included in the Olympics from 1908 to 1948, but only cardboard cutouts were used. However, I think this event also needs a rebirth, only this time with live deer. They could capture all the deer in my neighborhood, cart them off to the Olympics and blow Bambi’s brains out. As you may guess, I have no love for the schizophrenic mounds of lice, which have been nothing but a bane to my existence.
Who’s up for some rope climbing? Well, in four different Olympics, some people were. In fact, rope climbing was sanctioned by the NCAA here in the good ole USA until early in the 1960s. Now, isn’t that a claim to fame? Just think, someone is able to say, “My alma mater, Sore Thighs University, was the 1956 NCAA rope climbing champion.” Damn, that would fill your heart with pride. Anyway, in the 1924 Paris Olympics, rope climbing had seven competitors from nine nations. I’m thinking the Olympics might need to add a math event to the festivities.
The last event I want to talk about, and the one with the most promise, is the 200-meter obstacle swim. In the 1900 Paris games, athletes were rowed 200 yards from shore, then had to not only swim, but traverse three obstacles. First, they had to climb over a pole (dancing was optional), then over a row of boats and finally under a row of boats. Remember, these are the same games that featured the wild and woolly croquet matches. Le French, they are so silly.
However, I think with a few tweaks, this event could turn into something spectacular, unlike the original event which was turned into a Charlie Chaplin movie entitle “Poles, Boats and Silly French People,” all the IOC would need to do is replace those poles and boats with crocodiles, sharks and some riled-up sting rays (you have to rile the sting rays up because they are lazy, you know). As soon as the swimmers enter the water, an official throws some bloody meat in there with them and the fun ensues.
Although some people may claim that such an event could be too disturbing, all I can say is – curling. That’s disturbing.