Olympics Special Report: Trimming the Fat
With the Summer Olympic Games about to begin in
Athens, the Daily Probe staff has been analyzing
the number of sporting events contested in order to reduce
the overall size of the now-bloated sporting festival.
Our findings were forwarded to the International Olympic Committee
This week we will share our comments about some of the
events in the area of Track and Field, and each event
will have to pass three categories to be a valid Olympic event:
1) Ancient Times -- Is it reasonable to assume a
specific event was ever attempted thousands of years
ago when the Greeks claim they "invented the Games"?
(After inventing fire and a parchment version of the
Internet, no doubt.)
2) Modern Day -- Is the event relevant today, and
should people be forced to watch it in a dangerous,
hot, acrid, Athens stadium? Or worse, on NBC?
3) Post-Apocalypse -- After the "end of the world,"
will the talent needed for the event help man exist in
a land of mutant insects and killer robots?
Event: 100-Meter Dash
Ancient Times: Yes. Get away from the lion? Catch
the rabbit? Get away from the horny Greek man who
wants to make you his young boy squire? All good
reasons to run, and run fast.
Modern Day: Yes. Get away from the police? Catch
the purse thief? Plus, make a fortune being known as
the "fastest man alive" or at least the "fastest
purse thief alive."
Post-Apocalypse: Yes. Get away from the robot?
Catch the tasty mutant insect? Assuming we aren't in a
poor Kevin Costner version of the the apocalypse
(return next week when we cover swimming), then
running fast on land would still be useful.
Event: 200-, 400-, 800-, 5,000-, 10,000-Meter Runs
Modern Day: No. Assuming you are fast at 100
meters, 1,500 meters (about a mile in non-Euro
blabber), or the marathon, who cares about all the
distances in between? Is the purse thief faster than
you in the 100 and also able to run a marathon? Then
get to a gym, slow poke.
Event: Hurdles and Steeplechase
Ancient Times: Yes. One must assume everyone was
running EVERYWHERE back then. Who has time to walk if
you're lucky to live until 25? So with shopping bazaars
all over town, and occasional piles of plague victims,
that most likely means jumping over stuff (even steeples).
Modern Day: Yes, with the exception of the 400-meter hurdles. Again,
who needs a middle brother between the 110-meter sprint and the
Post-Apocalypse: Yes. Roads cluttered with large,
inexplicable, futuristic-looking metal objects AND
plague victims? You better be able to run and jump.
Event: Triple Jump
Ancient Times: No. Either you could jump across
the deep chasm separating you from safety and the
hungry lion behind you, or you couldn't, which is why
the long jump is a legitimate event and this is not.
It's doubtful there were many Wile E. Coyote-esque
chasms with small points in the middle where you could
skip and jump. And even if there were, wouldn't the
real test be hitting those specific points with your
feet? In this event you just flail through the air as
far as possible in some spastic, anarchist version of
Event: Pole Vault
Ancient Times: No. It is true that getting over
high walls was an important part of conquering your
neighboring town, but according to historical films of
the period it looks like "ladder placement and
ascension" was a more useful skill. Other ancient
events now ignored while the poser pole vault has
continued include "pouring hot oil for accuracy" and
"pushing ladders off the wall."
Event: High Jump, Long Jump
Ancient Times: Yes. This is how you cross the
crocodile pit or get over wall when the lion is in
Modern Day: Yes. But to be true to ancient times,
the high jump barrier should be a solid wall with an
uncertain landing on the other side. Or, if we're now
simulating the more modern skill of "prison break,"
the high jump pole should be electrified.
Post-Apocalypse: Yes. However, by the time of the
apocalypse the sport should evolve to include a sprint
after the jump, because a simple chasm or wall isn't
going to stop a robot.
Event: 20- and 50-Kilomter Race-Walking
Post-Apocalypse: You've got to be kidding. No way in hell.
Event: Discus, Hammer, Shot-Put, Javelin
-- Ancient Times and Post-Apocalypse: Yes. Let's face
it, throwing sharp or heavy blunt objects a long
distance is useful whether you are battling the
Assyrians or the triple-winged dragon-mosquito.
However, a moving target should be included in the
current version of these events and worth extra
Modern Day: Yes, but only for the javelin and
hammer throw. Those two events adequately cover "sharp"
and "heavy blunt" objects. Why throw a shot put when
you can spin and spin and spin and spin and throw the
hammer into a stunned crowd? And allowing the discus
only gives breathing room to those freaks arguing to
make an Olympic sport of the Frisbee.
Event: Decathlon and Heptathlon
Ancient Times: Yes. As the number of lions and
Assyrians diminished, there needed to be a sporting
way for women and men to choose who was the most
capable to produce kin that could survive when the
wolves and Spartans finally arrived.
Modern Day: Yes. As the number of virile, straight,
and disease-free basketball players diminish, there
needs to be a way for women and men to choose who is
most capable to produce kin that can make millions
even while playing out his retirement for the Miami
Post-Apocalypse: Yes. If the human race is to
survive, the sperm and eggs from the winners of these
events will be cloned to create a super-army. And then
the process repeated when that first army turns evil.
(Reported by Mark Schmidt)