The Unpopular Olympic Opinion

A few months ago, I posted an Olympics viewing blog that demonstrated several of the ways people watch the Olympic games. One of the choices was GIMME EVERYTHING, which means whatever is on, I would watch it.

But what if EVERYTHING is too much? I mean, it is. There could be eight or nine events happening at the exact same time, and it can be overwhelming. And it seems like every year, new events are being added to make watching everything even more impossible.

With the addition of new events are the addition of costs. Yes, the events bring in spectators and the eyes of millions of people all over the world, but it still costs something to put on. Each Olympic budget gets inflated, causing other cities to shy away from bidding because it's just too much.

I do have an unpopular opinion when it comes to this. To me, the Olympics are a spectacular combination of sports that bring together athletes from all over the world in friendly competition. Over time, certain sports have become monopolized by a certain region, or just went out of fashion. Yet the sports remain on the Olympic program.

I am limiting this to the summer games, because the Winter Olympics are at an ideal capacity, in my opinion. The fact that the events are limited to ice and snow means there are already boundaries that exclude over-expansion.

First, here are some guidelines that I follow for the inclusion of sports. Then I will name a few current Olympic sports that I feel don't make the cut.

REQUIREMENT 1: All continents have a fighting chance

There can be moments where a country or region simply dominates a sport. However, the best sports allow these moments to ebb and fade over time.

Swimming is a great example. While the United States can be competitive in every event, it doesn't mean that they are the only ones that win. There are dominant swimmers all over the world: Europe (Katinka Hossu), Australia (Cate Campbell), Japan (Kosuke Hagino), and Brazil (Guilherme Guido), to name a few.

REQUIREMENT 2: All regions have access to equipment and facilities

Some sports are really expensive, and some sports just require shoes. But no matter how much "stuff" is required to adequately compete, all countries are able to find a way to train their athletes.

REQUIREMENT 3: Host cities can run the event without major issues

Yes, new facilities might need to be built, but it's not like landscapes need to be completely razed in order for some quirky event to be run.

REQUIREMENT 4: It's easy to watch - whether on "television" (streaming) or in person

Whether through commentary, cameras, or venue, people can easily see what is happening and aren't bored most of the time!

REQUIREMENT 5: Rules make sense!

I am not a fan of events that require judges. While I like watching gymnastics, I have a hard time accepting judge's scores, no matter easy NBC tries to make it.



Now let's take a look at my list of events that don't make the cut:

Sailing

Although sailing is an event that has been in the Olympics since the beginning (1896), I call this a Rich White Men event. Why? Well, the Olympics were initially run (and competed) by men who had the money, resources, and time to go all over the world and do these fun little sports in the spirit of competition. In 1896, most people in the world were still busy working to survive.

Sailing is one that struggles to meet the three requirements. It is not easy for people to train because there are many landlocked countries that don't have access to sailing equipment. Plus, I've tried to watch the streaming of the sailing events in London and Rio, and had absolutely no clue what is happening.

Equestrian

Another RWM event that not only makes it difficult for all regions to have equipment, facilities, and horses, but also is incredibly expensive to both run the event and fly the horses to points all over the world!

While it is fun to watch because, you know, horses, it still could be cut and save the host cities a huge chunk of change.

Modern Pentathlon (in its current iteration)

If we are eliminating horse transportation, that means the current form of the modern pentathlon would have to be eliminated, as well. But it doesn't mean the Modern Pentathlon has to be fully eliminated!

Handball

Handball is popular in Europe and...well...just Europe. While it is easily accessible, I don't know any non-European countries that embrace handball as much as they do. South Korea won the women's gold back in 1988 and 1992, but every other gold medal has been won by a European country.

Synchronized (Artistic) Swimming

Before 2012, the ratio of women-men in the Olympics was pretty skewed in favor of men in competition. Synchronized swimming was an event added in the 1980s, and it is an event intended for women only.

But now that events are intended for both women and men to compete, does an event like synchronized swimming - requiring elaborate swimsuits and annoying make-up and only features women - really necessary?

Yes, synchronized swimming requires an insane amount of athleticism, but it doesn't have the popularity or understandability to keep it in my roster.

You could also lump in Rhythmic Gymnastics to this, for all the same reasons.

Surfing

I know, I know; surfing hasn't even premiered at the Olympics yet, and I'm already getting rid of it! But just look at Paris, who is struggling to find a venue to host this event with the correct style of waves! And how is it judged if everyone isn't getting the same kind of weather and waves?

Baseball and Softball

This one kills me because I enjoy baseball and softball, but it has the same issue as handball: these two sports are not worldwide sports. Central America, North America, and Japan are basically the only places that have a history with baseball and softball.

Canoe Slalom

While fun to watch, it has two strikes against it: it is difficult for a majority of countries to train in the conditions required, and the facility is difficult to build and maintain. If news agencies want to show how the Olympics have ruined a host city, they'll usually show off the whitewater rapids facility because it is only meant for one thing and isn't used for much else!



So what do you think? Do you disagree with my choices? Would you add any other events? I really want to know what you think! Comment below or on social media! I look forward to hearing from you!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No. But it will be in less than a year!

'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! Look back on previous posts to hear about my trips to the US Curling National Championships, the US Figure Skating Championships, and my very successful quest to acquire tickets for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics!


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