Next year’s summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are a subject which we can probably skip over safely. (Mainly because the general consensus seems to be that the water is so polluted everyone will drop dead of dysentery before the event ends anyway.) With that in mind we may as well look forward to the 2020 games in Tokyo. They’re already hard at work getting ready for them and one of the subjects under debate is which new events they will be adding.
I’ll just pause here for a moment so we can all ponder why we need more events when two thirds of them aren’t worth watching as it is.
But since the most recent edition of the rules allows the host country to add more sports to the list I suppose we may as well brace ourselves. So, Tokyo… whatcha got for us? (ABC News)
Baseball and softball were joined by youth-oriented sports such as surfing and skateboarding as Japanese organizers on Monday recommended the inclusion of five additional sports and 18 events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Karate and sports climbing were also on the list proposed by the Tokyo organizing committee. Bowling, squash and wushu failed to make the cut from the list of eight finalists.
Oh, man. I can not believe wushu wasn’t included. Six months of training down the tubes. And for those of you uncool types who don’t keep up with the latest trends, wushu appears to be a sport which involves one girl beating another girl to death with a broomstick. And that’s ratings gold if you ask me. Here’s a short video of a demonstration.
As to the sports that did make the list, I’m not even sure what to say. Baseball and softball were combined into “one sport” with the men playing baseball and the ladies playing softball. I’m sure somebody will protest that on grounds of sexism, but they both have the virtue of actually being sports. They take a long time for an Olympic event, but the competitors have to score runs and there’s a clear winner.
Some of these other sports fail to meet that minimum bar. Surfing? Skateboarding? Rock climbing? These fall into the same category as so many other new age “sports” which get added to games around the world. The problem with them is that they aren’t actually sports. They may be great exercise and be lots of fun to both participate in and watch, but the criteria for winning are ambiguous at best. Any time you have a competition where some third party has to observe your performance and rate it on a score card you are not competing in a sport. It’s performance art. You can add snowboarding into the same category for the winter Olympics.
A real sport pits competitors against each other with some clear criteria where someone emerges as the victor and everyone else is a loser. Wrestlers need to pin each other or throw their opponent out of a ring. Racers have to cross the finish line first. Javelin throwers can have their best effort measured with a tape. Even if you added in bowling we can count the number of pins that are knocked down.
Rant over, I suppose. But if anyone from the official committee is reading this I’ll offer one suggestion. If you want surfing because it’s a beach event, cancel it and just double the number of women’s beach volleyball teams. That’s a sport, my friends.