Friday, August 29, 2008

Olympic ins and outs

Since it seems to be okay to write about the Olympics now that they're over (note that the Paralympics are currently underway; Fat Louie at Women's Sports Blog is doing the best she can--given the dearth of coverage--to blog about them); or at least that's my rationale for writing more after the fact than during.
Besides, this post is about the Olympics generally not specifically Beijing.
There's been discussion all along, as I mentioned recently, about the eliminations of baseball and softball and the attempts to reinstate them--focused mostly on softball. But there's also been some discourse on which sports should be in the Olympics generally.
This Canadian columnist shares his opinions on the matter. He advocates for the inclusion of rugby and cricket, which I wholeheartedly support, assuming both can get some of their historical problems with gender equity in order. I have written about cricket's campaign previously. I don't know anything about cricket but I would love to see American commentators try to explain it. If the Olympics truly are a global sporting event, then it seems right that one of the most popular global sports is included. But this editorial asks that we step back a moment to consider the realities. Not sure about the validity given, again, that I know nothing about the sport. But the author draws a connection to Olympic tennis, which I dislike and think should be taken away. And if it's true that cricketers have bigger, more prestigious prizes and competitions and thus would not take an Olympic berth as seriously then maybe it doesn't belong in the games.
Whether a similar argument can be applied to rugby, I don't know. I, for one, want to see it included in the 2016 games.
A similar argument can be applied (and I have applied it) to golf, which the Canadian editorialist believes should be an Olympic sport. I, of course, do not.
He argues against equestrian events, which I get given that it's largely about the horse's performance. The rider, from what I can see, is like a coach. I realize the historical tradition around equestrian events but have never been one to rely on tradition as some kind of overarching rationale.
I'm pretty much on board with the rest of his suggestions. Include: skateboarding, water skiing, and make sure darts and ultimate fighting never get in.
I'll end with his comments on racewalking, which I never understood and didn't see any of this time around:
Let's also get rid of racewalking. It's easily the dorkiest-looking sport at the Games. It's as if each competitor was forced to drink four litres of water an hour before the start, and then it's a race to see who can reach the bathroom first, only the participants are told they're not allowed to run. So they waddle as fast as they can for 45 kilometres.


Katharine Sinderson said...

As an English cricket lover I have to say that the Olympics and cricket do not need each other. There is far too much international cricket as it is, certainly on the men's side. There is no such thing as a Great Britain team, whereas there is a West Indies team. Neither of these fit into the Olympics. As for rugby, which kind? Union or league?

Katharine Sinderson said...

In cricket the highest form of the game is test cricket which takes several days. This could not be accomodated into any Games. There was one day cricket in the Commonwealth Games ten years ago, but only as a men's sport. England literally wouldn't play ball and did not send a team. When the next Commonwealth Games were held, in Manchester, it was dropped.