Let's dump these Olympic events--commentary

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By Mike Forster

With the summer Olympics in full swing, I figured I’d kick in my two cents. As many of you already know, this will be the last Olympics (at least for the foreseeable future) that include baseball and softball.

The 2005 vote by the International Olympic Committee was held via secret ballot so we’ll probably never learn the true motivations for eliminating the sports. There are two reasons most suspected. The first is that the lack of Major League Baseball players in the Olympics (due to conflicts with the regular season) means that the talent is not the best in the world. Secondly, the widespread use of performance enhancing substances in baseball would taint the Olympics.

Fair enough on both counts—when you’re talking about baseball. Softball is another story. I suspect the rationale in eliminating that sport is that the USA was just too darned dominating. In baseball, by the way, the Cubans have won three of the last four gold medals.

As an aside, when looking over the Team USA baseball roster and its heavy weighting of AA prospects, it makes me wonder why Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens didn’t jump onto the Olympic team. Both have ample time on their hands and this would have been an excellent opportunity for them to do something—anything—that wasn’t perceived as self-serving. Who the heck is asleep at the wheel in handling these guys?

Anyway, if they’re going to ban baseball and softball, they have to look at some of these other sports with an eye toward getting them out of the Olympics. Here are my top candidates for the hook:

Synchronized swimming. Look, I’m just as appreciative as the next guy of a pair of swimmers’ ability to swim in synchronized fashion. The next guy, however, doesn’t appreciate it one whit. What’s next, Olympic ballet?

Water polo. The cruelest of all sports. Way too many horses are drowned in this senseless sport. Ba-da-bing.

Badminton. This is the sport that you play in Uncle Joe’s backyard whenever you go to his house for a cookout. The birdie always winds up caught in some branches and someone usually gets hit in the coconut with a racket. Fun, but not a sport.

Canoeing. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to have canoeing, why not add fishing, campfire-building, tent-pitching and marshmallow-roasting?

Fencing. Sure, the ability to wield a sword was important at one time, such as, oh, the 14th century. Back then, though, they used real swords: heavy, honking bad boys that could really do some damage. Nowadays, fencers use the epee, a sissified, reed-like device that hardly merits being called a sword. Plus, the fencers wear all sort of protective gear so there’s no chance of the occasional injury.

Modern pentathlon (fencing, shooting, riding, running, swimming). With some tweaking, it could be retained. With personal dreams of Olympic glory, I propose the modern pentathlon be comprised of these five events: billiards, darts, horseshoes, pinball and Pac-Man.

Rowing. Remember the movie “Ben Hur”? Remember when Ben became a galley slave? They had the guy at the front of the boat beating the drum to give them the stroke pace. THAT was rowing on an Olympic scale. Nowadays, the contestants row in this itty-bitty sliver of a boat and wear fancy, non-galley slave attire. It is an affront to men such as Ben Hur, a rower in the truest sense.

Sailing. An elitist sport for the Rolex-wearing crowd. Not content merely to make billions before begging for (and getting) a government bailout (a la the Fannie Mae bailout), these guys need something else to enrich their lives. The Olympic medal can be hung in the dude’s den along with the mounted head of the U.S. taxpayer.

Table tennis. This game is also known as ping-pong. It’s what guys play at the frat house before going to the beer blast. We don’t need a bunch of frat boys running around the Olympic village, do we?

After this purging, we can truly enjoy the Olympic experience, safe in the knowledge that the games consist of purely athletic endeavors that are worthy of our attention.

And then, we’ll push ‘em to put in football.