Normally it’s quite hard to think of the Olympics without laughing, but alas we now enter that quadrennial nightmare when there’s nothing else in the media but sport, and particularly stupid sports at that. So I already hate the 2008 Olympics, and they haven’t even started. In the spirit of ridiculing the ridiculous, I suggest that the following new sports have exactly the same claim to inclusion as any others.
We have the 100m sprint. This is completely pointless, so what about replacing it with the more useful ‘Typing 100 words really quickly’?
No? Then what about adding to dressage and surreally ludicrous synchronised swimming (but sadly not the equally pointless wushu) the widely practiced sport of ‘ironing and putting your hankies away neatly’?
No? Well, what about pandering to the fantastically stupid tradition of allowing each host country to introduce a sport that they are guaranteed to win forever (e.g., the USA and basketball), and allowing China to introduce ‘crushing all resistance’, ‘devastating your own environment while threatening to bring the world to the edge of ecological collapse’ and (in honour of their acquisition of Hong Kong) ‘shopping’? Of course, they would face competition in the latter from Japan, but the Japanese might be a bit distracted by their struggle with Italy for the ‘Political corruption’ gold.
No, it’s not clever to spend your life pushing a talent for running really, really fast to extremes or being able to shoot a gnat between the eyes. It’s not an accomplishment to he able to sail better than anyone else in the world or lift more weight. It is clever and it is an accomplishment to be a teacher, run a refugee camp, bring up a family in adversity, write music, be generous, cook well, fight for what you believe in or even (god help me) be an accountant, and to do any of these things to the best of your ability is an excellent thing.
But why should I admire someone whose sole achievement is to perfect the ability to do something that is completely and utterly selfish and useless? If they put a tenth of the effort and devotion that goes into their sport into being socially useful, they might be – well, socially useful. Instead of a bunch of self-aggrandising jerks whose physical achievements are no more admirable than stamp collecting or building sand castles.
In any other sphere these people would be regarded as a waste of space and in need of a good talking to. Why is it different with sport?
(Howefver, if you want a real sport to add to the Olympics, how about free running/parcour?