What would I do if I were the Olympics President?
- retain only field and track events. The only non-field and track activity I would allow is the marathon.
- combine events for able-bodied-people, people-with-disabilities, and dwarfs in a single Olympics schedule.
The 2012 Olympics have kicked off. They are all over the place. Everywhere I turn is Olympics. Every other TV channel is either broadcasting specific events or replaying what has happened during routine news broadcasts. Every newspaper I glance at is filled with Olympics stuff.
The Olympics, which were called Olympiad in Greece, began in Olympia in 776 BC, almost 3,000 years ago allegedly to honour the Greek gods, particularly Zeus. The official version of the modern games started in 1896.
However, the games have been increasingly politicised by the developed countries. The position in the medal table has become such a big political-sports supremacy issue. For example at the end of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there was an argument between China and the USA on who had triumphed. China got 100 medals of which 51 were gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze. USA attained 110 medals – 36 golds, 38 silvers and 36 bronzes. China claimed to be the victor based on quality, while the USA based its argument on quantity.
In fairness, the official Olympics medals ranking is based on quality. A country with one gold medal is for example ranked higher than that with say twenty silver medals.
Putting occasional politically-based games boycotts aside, certain developed countries have campaigned and continue to vigorously campaign for the inclusion of activities for which they have a high likelihood of attaining medals. Because they want to maximise the number of gold medals, they influence the inclusion of sports activities in which their sports people excel – in many cases sports activities which the developing and least developed countries are least likely to field any participants.
For example, Team GB was ranked 4th at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with 47 medals – 19 golds, 13 silvers and 15 bronzes. But, more than 50 per cent (i.e. 26 including 14 golds) of these medals were in only cycling, rowing and sailing.
London 2012 Olympics for example has included 26 sporting events covering several disciplines including athletics, swimming, fencing, gymnastics, cycling, wrestling, boxing, canoeing, ball games (football, volley ball, basketball, golf etc), and others (archery, judo, weightlifting etc).
I am of the view that the Olympics should include only athletics – track and field sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping and throwing. The only non-field and track event that should be included is the marathon.
- Running events – sprints, middle- and long-distance events, relays and hurdling. I would spice-up the hurdles by adding relay hurdles as an additional event.
- Jumping events – long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault.
- Throwing events – shot put, javelin, discus and hammer.
- Other events – combined events, i.e. decathlon, and marathon.
Any country, can field participants in the above events due to the simplicity of the competitions, and the lack of a need for expensive equipment.
Some sports are already well catered for elsewhere. Football for example is covered under the world cup held every 4 years. Similarly, specialised high level periodic competitions are staged for swimming, tennis etc.
I am also of the view that the current scheduling of Paralympics after Olympics is a form of discrimination in its own right. The different name is also a form of discrimination.
The Olympics could be more interesting if it combines the able-bodied people, the people-with-disabilities and the small people (dwarfs).
Each event should be scheduled into 6 sub-events, i.e. able-bodied, people-with-disabilities and dwarfs, split between men and women.
For example, the 100 meter sprint final should be scheduled as a sequence of the above 6 categories.