Bizarre. I’m being
offered Olympic tickets from all sorts of sources, all legit I think, when only
a few months ago my carefully filled in application was declined. Hours had
been poured into working out what dates and times we wanted, vetoing the most
popular options, cleverly avoiding the likely bottleneck for tickets. (In
hindsight, this was probably the reasoning of countless other applicants, hence
creating a rush for the less popular tickets. I should have let my husband apply
for beach volleyball after all.) Eventually, family conferences over, in hope
and anticipation we sent off a fat cheque. Nothing. Nix. Nada. Rien. Not even
an invitation to sell popcorn for them during the marathon.
Since then, I’ve started to wonder if I really wanted to
go at all. Maybe I was just sucked into the ‘once in a lifetime on your own
turf’ spirit. Or, as the closest event to be will be sailing at Weymouth, ‘on one’s own
water’. Somehow the latter doesn’t sound so great.
Problem being that I find most of the sports very dull. It
would of course be entirely different if my aerodynamically clad son intended
to cycle his way around the velodrome. Otherwise, the event singularly fails to
turn me on. As does running (yawn), jumping, rowing long distancezzzzzzz…
There are many sports which are recognised by the Olympic
Committee that sound much more fun than the current offerings. Who, for
example, could resist the draw of an energetic game of Bandy? Korfball could be
a major attraction. Wushu and sumo would doubtless have their interesting if
bizarre moments. Chess and bridge perhaps better remain in the shadows if
thrills are being sought.
Some other gripping sports which have been played in
previous Olympic Games, but have been removed. More’s the shame. Polo must have
been very exciting to watch; all those horse galloping (or swimming) around. Even
the tug-of-war, last competed for in 1904, might have been fairly exciting;
muscular men, mud, sweat, grunting. Plenty of falling over too, for the slapstick
lovers among us. (No, that’s people who love slapstick, not lovers whoperform
in a slapstich fashion. Eeuugh). Jeu de Paume was last contested in 1908; an
elegant, stately game, great, great-grandfather of lawn tennis, played indoors.
Perhaps it being dropped was due to the stadium architects vetoing it as they
couldn’t bear to face the difficulties in getting spectators around the courts,
as the lowest row of seats would have been about 6 metres off the ground. Chicken
There have been several Olympic demonstration sports which
have never made it to approval, such as ballooning. Some have fabulous,
incomprehensible names such as Savate and Glima. It would have been difficult
to resist the thrill of competitive surf lifesaving, yet it never slid through
the hallowed portals. Dog- sled racing is another sad loss, especially as the spectators
would have had masses of exercise keeping up with the competitors.
Perhaps we should look further afield. The International King
of Sports seems to have had the right idea. This competition included the Under
Hurdles. Held on a normal 110 m track, the competitors had to go under hurdles
rather than the mundane ‘over’ method. Slower, but must have looked hilarious.
The Underwater Shot Put using a leather ball filled with sand should have been
a must watch, although presumably it could have been difficult to televise. The
Tennis Whack involved contestants hitting a tennis ball upwards with a tennis
racket, the winner having the ball in the air for the longest time. The Water Jump
had contestants leaping from a springboard over a horizontal pole, a close
relation of the high jump yet doubtless more dramatic as wall as splashier. The
one that attracts me most out of this group however, is the 10 G Human Slalom
in which competitors ran downhill between flags, like a normal giant slalom,
but with no snow. Or skis. The top part
of the course was steep and tight, built to test agility, the lower flatter,
for speed. Oh, soooo well thought out.
There are sports which the Olympic committee has not
chosen to recognise. Cockroach racing is apparently popular in Australia. I
suspect they’ve not accepted it as mainstream as it would have to be televised
rather than watched live since the stadium would be very small, seating an estimated
I’m considering starting a campaign for more fun in
Olympic sports; laughter in leaping, pleasure in pedaling. Also, as campaigning
is widely practised by both sexes in at least 75 (for men) and 54 (for women)
countries on all four continents, presumably I could apply to have it
recognised as an Olympic sport. I was first to campaign; gold medal position. Someone
pass me a podium, please.