Fixing the Olympics

Don’t get me wrong: The Olympics isn’t broken.

Not since this happened, anyway.

It’s still the second-best sporting event on earth after the Reigning and Undisputed Champion. But given the Olympics are all about striving for perfection, we thought we’d flag some ideas to improve an an already-excellent event.

Idea #1: Consolidate events.

Gymnastics is actually pretty awesome. It’s one of those ‘99% of people have no clue but become armchair experts every four years’ events. We all like to comment on whether or not she stuck her landing or whether his pommel rotations were fast enough.

But do we really need a medal for each discipline? If you’re a gymnast, surely that is your sport. You don’t hand out a medal for the best free-throw shooter in basketball or the best tumble-turn in swimming.

NOT the defending post-event posing Olympic Champion

The overall medals are the only ones that really mean anything. Overall individual, overall team. That’s it. You could expand the team if you’d like, and have a single “specialist” gymnast compete for your team in any given discipline… but giving them all a medal seems a bit much.

Also in desperate need of consolidation into a state of ‘Overall Medals Only’: Diving.

Idea #2: Cull events.

Did you know that technically there is no such thing as a “freestyle” swimming stroke? Freestyle simply means ‘You’re free to swim however you like’ and the stroke you see 99.9999% of the time is actually called ‘Front Crawl’. Swimming is the best example I can give of a medal being handed out for achieving a goal (getting from A to B in water) in a less efficient manner and still winning a medal. Winning the 100m breaststroke medal is basically like saying ‘Congratulations, you were the closest to the freestyle time even though you wouldn’t have even qualified for the Games with that time in the freestyle competition.’

Check out efficient I am at being inefficient!

We do not have running events where you get a medal for being the fastest sideways runner or the fastest crab-walker. Swimming has a glut of medals because there are far too many events. That’s why people erroneously place Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz so far ahead of someone like Haile Gebrselassie, even though he should by rights be regarded as a superior sportsperson. They can win medals in seventy-eleventy-gabillion events whereas he cannot.

This man has 2 Gold medals. Phelps has 18. How is that fair?

Swimming needs to get rid of all “stroke” events and simply make it a ‘Get from A to B in any way you like’ event over a variety of distances…. say… 50m, 100m, 400m and 1500m.

Athletics doesn’t escape our wrath, though. It should certainly be culled to 100m, 400m, 1500m and marathon. A sprint, extended gut-busting sprint, medium distance, and long-distance event. Same as swimming.

Also in desperate need of culling because they’re just slightly bastardised versions of better events: Beach volleyball. Sorry guys.

Idea #3: Cull sports.

The  Olympics are about showcasing the best we can do.

The Olympics should be the top events only, the ones that matter… not the boring ‘we include them because they campaigned and pestered us a lot.’

If you hear that someone won a weightlifting gold, chances are that your reaction is ‘Really? Wow. Geez, that’s impressive.

If you hear someone won the dressage gold, chances are that your reaction is ‘Really? Wow. Ummm… cool. I suppose. That’s the one with the dancing horses, right?’

Give Buttercup a medal too!

As such, the following events need to be swiftly and mercilessly culled altogether from the Olympic program: Synchronised anything, canoe/kayaking, BMX/Mountain/Road cycling, fencing, sailing, shooting, anything involving a horse.

Idea #4: Bring back awesome events.

Tug-of-war used to be an Olympic sport, last appearing at the 1920 Antwerp Games. WHAT!? HOW DID WE LET IT SLIP?

Can you imagine how awesome Tug-of-War would be in 2016? You’re telling me every country on the planet wouldn’t love to have ‘Tug-of-War Olympic Champions’ next to their name. It’s a primitive, primal, and beautiful. Imagine an Australian team running out (well… plodding out) with our biggest, meanest, heaviest and strongest six men (or women) who can push their body to the limit and then ask a little bit more. It would be a massive, massive spectator sport. It could be completed in a single day in an area the size of a tennis court. Sixteen teams start, best-of-five rounds, and around 3 hours later one team would walk away with gold. Elegant.

Well… elegant-ish.

Idea #5: If Olympic Gold isn’t the pinnacle, get rid of it.

This one’s simple.

Tennis. Golf. Rugby. Soccer. Sports where the Olympic Gold is not the pinnacle of international competition. Get rid of them.



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