Olympics 5-Point Plan: Point 3

So far we’ve taken nationalities out of the Olympics, and we’ve awarded medals for the top 8. Now it is time to sharpen up the situation regarding the events.

One extremely irksome issue is that of event balance. For example a top gymnast has the opportunity to win medals in overall gymnastics, team gymnastics, and then each gymnastic event in isolation. If a competitor fails in the pommel horse, no worries there’s always the vault. Multiple medaling is the norm. Now take the marathon; only the one chance, no possibility of trying another event, and what an exhausting event too.

Point 3 Reduce the number of events

It’s as simple as that? Yes. Each event would need to be looked at in turn; it wouldn’t be possible to apply fixed rules to all events, but the concept should be the same, ie fewer events.

For example? If we follow through the gymnastics disciplines referred to above, the simple, obvious conclusion is to award medals for the overall event only. No team event, remember we have already dispensed with nationalities, and gymnastics is hardly a true team sport. And certainly no medals for each individual discipline. For another sport that is infamous for its multiple medaling, swimming, the same concept, fewer events. One however should bear in mind the status of swimming, an everyday human activity which is a time-measured sport (something like gymnastics is subjectively scored), and also its place in Olympic history. So each of the four strokes, plus the medley should remain, but no relays (again no nationalities). And all that needs pruning are some of the distances. Just leave it at 100m (not the medley) and 400m. Then the freestyle may additionally have the long distance 1500m. And that’s it. There’s nothing stopping individual sports associations from having all the other multifarious events in their own world championships, but to expect the Olympics to provide the same depth is not on.

That’s culling too much! Admittedly it is all a bit harsh, but the Olympics is getting too big for so many cities to bid, and so many facilities are underused afterwards. A large slicing might well be the answer, and just think of the importance and drama it would add to the remaining events. Spectators would be much more able to follow everything. Swimming is just a blur at present, it would be so much clearer to the general public.

What about sports that are team events only? That is a good question, there are other issues at work here, more later.

This concept of fewer events would be applied to all sports, although something like football has only the one available gold medal, so reducing this is clearly not feasible.

Fewer events would lead to a slimmer Olympics, where each event would become a great deal more valuable. And many more cities from around the globe would be able to afford the games, not just the same old cities fighting it out.

A slim, sharp, affordable Olympics, isn’t that what everyone wants?

Olympics 5-point Plan, Point 1

Am I the only person that thinks the Olympics is past its sell-by date?

It’s too big, there are too many sports, judging is wildly erratic and often biased, there is too much cheating, spectators blindly appreciate competitors from their own country, and cheer when competitors from other countries fail. The whole so-called Olympic spirit has become a myth.

Not that I am against the Olympic spirit, far from the truth, I wholly endorse it; I just don’t see it any more (or merely in tiny morsels that get blown so big, because of their rarity).

So I’ve a 5 point plan to restructure the Olympics. It’s faintly ridiculous that anyone sitting in their living-room at home should feel that they have the big ideas to improve the Olympics, but this is the sad truth, those in positions of power in the Olympic movement simply don’t want to rock the gravy train in case they are first to fall.

Point 1: Take nationalities out of the equation.

This is the way to sideline nationalistic fervor, and start to return to a true Olympic spirit. Patriotism is all very good, but in sport? Many sports seem to have put nationalism aside, tennis being a prime example, and tennis is surely the better for it.

  • Who would the competitors represent? Themselves. Simply put, if the competitors are representing no-one but themselves then the nations of the world need worry no more about national pride. Why on earth should national pride rise or fall with Olympic success or failure? Admittedly this is more easily done with individual rather that teamsports, more on this later.
  • So who qualifies for the Olympics? The sport’s governing body simply selects the top-rated competitors, irrespective of nationality.
  • So who do we support? Anyone we like. We can choose to support someone local, or anyone else we may like, or no-one and just enjoy the contest.
  • How do we know where the competitors are from? If we feel the need to know we just check them out on the Olympic app on our tablet and get all the information about any competitor.
  • Can competitors change allegiance and represent a different nation? Any competitor would be free to live or train wherever they like, or carry any passport(s) they wish, but they wouldn’t be representing any nation because nations would be irrelevant.
  • What about the medals’ table? There wouldn’t be one.
  • What about national anthems and national flag-raising? There wouldn’t be any national anthems or flags. Perhaps the competitors could choose their own music.
  • Wouldn’t nations be loathe to fund athletes who would not be promoting national pride? Very probably, who cares? And nations would very probably not want to bother about doping programs.
  • Would it stop doping? No, but systematic national doping would almost certainly decrease. Doping would be an individual affair, there would be no reflection on the nation. Dopers would discredit themselves.
  • Wouldn’t it stop the romance of the Olympics which competitors from little-known countries can bring? Yes it probably would, though this has largely ended anyway.

This is Point 1 of a 5-point plan. It may seem rather extreme; it is.

Point 2 will follow later.

Riverbank Arena 2, London Olympics 2012

Another view of that great match between Germany and Australia in the semi-final of the men’s hockey at the London Olympics 2012. And that is an airship in the skies.

It was a high quality game, Australia were twice ahead, but Germany’s teamwork and fitness eventually prevailed and they ended up 4-2 victors, and later went on to win gold, retaining the Olympic title.

The quality of the pitch was outstanding, enabling such skillful hockey, but the colours attracted much attention. it’s a shame that this arena is merely a temporary one, and that it is only being used for this Olympic hockey tournament before being dismantled.