Sunday, February 16, 2014

Scored of the Rings

The Olympic Slogan is supposed to be higher, faster, stronger.  How about higher, faster, stronger, better judged.

There are a lot of things that bug me about the Olympics but judging has to be the thing that bugs me the most.  There is the politics, the unfairness, and the fact that most of us don't understand how events are judged.

At the top of this blog is a photo of Nadia Comaneci and one of her perfect 10s.  No doubt she was the best gymnast at the 1976 Olympics.  It turns out however her perfect 10s were engineered by the Soviet Union who figured that awarding her 10s would raise everybody else's scores enabling  the Soviets to win the team medal in gymnastics.   

It is hard to not notice that many of the events Canada now wins medals are in judged sports.  Does this mean that Canada's athletes are better or do we just play the international judging politics better than we used to.  

True non judged events like hockey do have referees and there is some judgment involved but most high level sports have tried to make that professional level referees are now doing the games.  

The bottom line:  Any sport that does not involve getting somewhere sooner, going longer, going higher, lifting more or scoring more points doesn't belong in the Olympics.  This by the way includes boxing.  Remember the Seoul Olympic boxing?  Other fighting sports have actually developed objective scoring so maybe some of them can stay.  

Eliminate the judged events and more room is open for other events that aren't in or extending existing events.  Ski mountaineering, telemark skiing, and snowshoeing would be easy candidates for addition. Some of the judged sports might be able to modify their sports to make them more objective.

Figure skaters, halfpipers and aerialists are are skilled athletes no doubt.  So are skateboarders, ballroom dancers and stock car racers none of whom I really want to see in the Olympics. Figure skating and ice dancing don't do anything for me but some people find them beautiful to watch.  I enjoy my local symphony but I don't expect see it at the Olympics.

But just because many people and I personally don't enjoy watching sports like figure skating or gymnastics doesn't mean they still can't be in the Olympics.  Just not as a competitive sport.  Sort of an Olympic Ice Capades or Olympic circus.

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