Here’s some gold medal-winning Olympic ideas
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Mark K. Campbell
These are some wacky Olympics. The U.S. has more women than men for the first time ever, every event is being televised which has never happened before, and social media is causing a stir, resulting in a couple of athletes being ejected.
A big problem for NBC is that everything is taped delayed from London. So, it’s possible to know the result long before it’s televised.
Naturally of course, if I were a snarky teenager (or didn’t have a bride telling me to grow up), I’d take great joy in spoiling event-avoiders’ days. What would be more fun than casually saying, “Man, can you believe America didn’t win the ____?”
(Also, back when I was 16, I’d have taken great joy in mocking Adele’s singing style. “All that warbling and fake soul – anyone could do that!” Then I’d warble horribly. However, I’m 56 not 16, and I really like Adele, so, you punk teens can shut up.)
The Olympics have quite the history. Through the years, there have been some very strange events.
Underwater swimming – My bride would be great at this! In Paris in 1900, they contested to see who could go longest underwater. Most non-Olympic people do this at home anyway. Scoring was two points for every meter swum underwater and one point for each second submerged. A Frenchman won, swimming 60 meters in 68.45 seconds for 188.4 points. The big problem for those back in ‘00 was that the lack of underwater cameras made the sport really boring for spectators. If it comes back, I’ll put the bride against anyone.
Live pigeon shooting – PETA would love this one. Once again, it’s 1900 – those must’ve been some groovy Games – and the contest was pretty simple: keep shooting birds until you miss twice. A Belgian won, taking down 21 pigeons. Overall, 300 were killed (birds, not Belgians) and lots more were seriously wounded making the scene gross enough that the event was discontinued. This could comeback with Ted Nugent as a sponsor.
Swimming obstacle race – Anyone who has been in Lake Benbrook has already done this. In 1900 (!), athletes had to swim about and, during their outing, climb up a pole, scale some boats, then swim under some other boats. The winner, from Australia, was wise enough to know to climb over the boats from the stern. His top time was only 13 seconds slower than his gold-medal-winning, obstacle-free 200 time. If we ever have this in Texas, we can supply competitors with knives and they can kill invasive Zebra mussels as they tool along.
Tug-of-war – Here’s another one you could do in your backyard. Actually, this event was one from the original Games and lived until 1920. Two teams of eight squared off and one had to be moved six feet. If, after five minutes, that distance had not been reached, then the team that had moved the others the most won. Great Britain swept in 1908, a year the U.S. dropped out of this event because the Brit police team had donned boots so heavy that they could barely walk. The bobbies took gold. Imagine the endorsements if this event should come back – from Home Depot ropes to special Nike footwear (that look like Lurch boots).
Club swinging – America needs this event to come back because the U.S. won every medal the two years it was conducted, 1904 and 1932. (Of course, in those two years, there were only seven contestants combined and six were from America.) It was rhythm gymnastics with bowling pins. Points were awarded as competitors whipped two 1.5 pound clubs around their body in complex routines. Today, it’d probably be set to music and I’d tune in in a second to see some Spandex-clad fellow zinging bowling pins around his torso to “Funky Cold Medina.”
Dueling pistol shooting – In 1912 (is it me or did the Olympics seem to be much more fun 100 years ago?), competitors quick-drew pistols from 20 and 30 meters away and fired at mannequins dressed in frock coats with bull’s-eyes on their throats. America did not place but you can bet Republicans and the NRA would make sure that never happened again.
Solo synchronized swimming – For real! This is a recent event, conducted from 1984-1992 before someone said...wait a minute...one person synchronized swimming?! The athlete performed to music and, once again, I’d advocate “Funky Cold Medina” in my never-ending effort to get that song back on the charts so kids today would know what real music sounds like.
So, the Olympics have been filled with some pretty goofy events. In this X-Games mentality we live in today, why not, oh, waterfall jumping? With pigeons tied to you. And your fellow Americans shooting them off as you leap. Juggling bowling pins. I know Mountain Dew or some energy drink would sponsor that. USA! USA!