Why is it I slavishly watch sports that I am interested in exactly once every four years? How many 100-metre races do I watch in between Olympics? Precisely zero, that’s how many. But come Olympic time, I will watch fencing, shooting, weightlifting, archery and a myriad of other sports that if I came across them while channel surfing at other times, I would complain there was nothing to watch.
So what’s the attraction? Is it the contemptible judging of boxing? (I once heard of a fight awarded to the guy who was knocked out.) Or is it the steroid popping field and strength sports? I don’t know, but I have tuned in ever since I can remember. In recent history, I marveled first hand at the spectacular Sydney games. When it was Athens turn I watched Israel and Dominican Republic score their first-ever gold medals and saw a German kayaker win her 8th gold medal at all 6 Olympics she has competed at. On to Beijing, and my wife and I had a delightful evening at the horse jumping in Hong Kong – cheering on people I had never heard of before, in a sport I may never watch again. Stirring stuff.
As we move to London 2012, it simply can’t be a bigger ‘event’ than Beijing, that’s just not economically possible. Maybe there is a unique opportunity to bring the Olympics back to what it was designed for – a showcase of athletic talent, rather than the razzmatazz of opening and closing ceremonies, or athletes’ pharmaceutical prowess.
However it goes, what will I be watching it all as I settle in at night while the family sleeps? Let me first detail what I will not be watching:
Give me a break, with grudging apologies to all the tennis fans (including my wife) I just can’t get enthused over a sport where if the crowd utters a peep during a serve, the player throws a wobbly. In any event, there are enough professional tournaments, without having to have multi-millionaire tennis babies spitting Olympic size dummies.
Get rid of it. It’s the soccer of martial arts.
Someone delivers a knee kick or low blow and the competitor falls, writhing around the floor like a stuck pig and when no penalty comes, up he gets ready to continue. A penalty should only be awarded for the loss of an eye or a digit.
Greco-Roman wrestling – aka brokeback wrestling:
Who doesn’t love seeing a couple of sweaty blokes dressed in spandex swimwear roll around the floor? But really, as I understand it, the Greek glory days are over 2000 years behind us and the Romans, not that much after. Give it up lads – move on.
What is this? The 1980’s? If I want to see a bunch of spiky haired morons wearing their undies above their pants, I’ll buy a skateboard and hang out at the local park. This is not an Olympic sport.
What I will be watching, does need to be revamped for the 21st century:
What a bunch of aristocratic show-ponies. Get rid of the pretentious French for a start. “En garde!” Give me a break. Sharper weapons and less protection are what we need. Competitors should reasonably expect to die in this sport.
Pistol shooters should use a Smith and Wesson six-shooter, John Wayne style. The pistols nowadays don’t look remotely scary. They should be using a gun you could rob a 7-11 with, should you need to.
Women’s Beach Volleyball: