Why I won’t go to Rio

11-07-2018 by admin

What a waste: The Sydney Olympics bored me stupid and I still feel guilty that a full access pass was wasted on me when plenty of people would’ve killed for one.
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Who’s starting to froth about the Rio Olympic Games?

In 2000 I was among thousands of media types from around the world who were gifted accreditation to cover the fabled Sydney Olympics.

My fancy pass meant I could go to any event I liked; I didn’t have to queue for tickets or line up with the punters for a seat or be turned away because a venue was full. I could swan around anywhere and be guaranteed a great view from the media pit. Sounds awesome, eh?

I’m sorry to say it wasn’t. The Sydney Olympics bored me stupid and I still feel guilty that a full access pass was wasted on me when plenty of people would’ve killed for one.

It’s not that I was down on the Sydney games per se;I’ve been indifferent to all but a handful of Summer Olympic sports since I was a kid.

The Winter Olympics, by comparison, are freakin’ awesome. I could watch ski jumpers fly through the air like human darts all day long. I’m transfixed when lugers risk a horrible, public death by careening arse-first down an icy chute at 135km/h.

Or snowboarders and skiers throwing down insane, compound fracture-esque aerials. Even the ice dancing is an elegant, entrancing spectacle.

But the Summer Games? Going for gold in Rio? Couldn’t be less amped. Why won’t people admit that the big, super-hyped, marquee events are boring to watch?

Take Australia’s sentimental favourite -swimming. I’ve never understood how people can possibly go nuts watching people swim.

I was there to see Ian Thorpe & Co. win a swag of medals in 2000. While aware I was witnessing history, I had trouble staying awake during the actual races.

Once you’ve seen eight people swimming in a straight line at a brisk walking pace in the exact same pool as the last time, well … it’s hardly up there with seeing a slalom skier face-plough 200m down a mountainside or speed skaters slam into a barrier in a tangle of blades and lycra.

I would like to stress that I love Ian Thorpe and I honestly admire Olympic athletes and applaud their achievements. It’s just that I may not be a fan of their chosen sports. Like running fast.

I was near the start/finish line the night Cathy Freeman won the women’s 400m.

OK, it was thrilling to hear 110,000 people roar as one and see the stadium explode with a million camera flashes, but the event itself? Eight ladies running around an oval? It reminded me of footy training.

Yes, I believe Cathy Freeman is a sportswomanfor the ages. Hell, she’s a national treasure! I just don’t think running along a track looks that amazing from a spectator point of view.

Don’t get me started on the 20km walk. The walk for Christ’s sake!

Having said that, I love the gymnastics and diving events. They showcase individual flair, creativity and amazing displays of physicality. Yet for each event I’ll watch with interest there are five others that have a sedative effect.

Think shooting (finger twitching), shot put (rock throwing), javelin (stick throwing), discus (plate throwing) equestrian (sitting), walking (walking),sailing (sitting), weight lifting (standing up).

The IOC needs to dump sports that just aren’t cutting it in the 21st century. After all there’s good reason why former Olympics “sports”like croquet, motor boating, rope climbing and underwater swimming were dropped -because they were boring and/or thoroughly stupid.

Cutting dead wood sports would free up space to bring back some old favourites that should never have been axed in the first place. Consider a Summer Olympics with the following:

Chariot racing:Anyone who’s seen Ben Hur knows how insane this would be. Chariot racing was a certified crowd-pleaser at the Ancient Olympics back in Pythagoras’s day -especially the events that featured chariots pulled by two horses. There were thrills, spills and kills aplenty. Given the advances in helmets and other personal safety technology since 680BC, modern chariot races would likely result in fewer actual deaths while in-chariot cameras would provide close-up coverage of all the ding-dong action a-la Bathurst. Giddy up!

Solo synchronised swimming:Introducedat the Los Angeles games in 1984, this incredible sport was abandoned for some reason after Barcelona in 1992. Yes, it’s fair to ask how a solo sport can possibly be synchronised (synchronised to what?) Well, to music of course! This puts it firmly in the realm of interpretive dance, which I personally find hilarious, thus immensely entertaining. The rules should be tweaked to require competitors to sing their own musical accompaniment out loud. Judging would need to include points for comedic value.

Pistol duelling:Featured during the 1906 Olympics in Athens only, this event wasn’t given time to truly develop. Back then organisers felt it was too much to have blokes stand 30m apart and fire live ammo at each other in a public place. Instead, duellers fired live ammo at a mannequin in a public place.

While potentially lethal to spectators and officials, it didn’t exactly have the same punch as, you know, a duel to the death. I don’t see why this event can’t be brought back using live humans armed with paint-ball pistols loaded with exploding rounds filled with pig blood to simulate a good old-fashioned shoot-out. Low on mortality, high on wow-factor.

Tug-o-war:Another sport that wasn’t allowed to reach its potential. From 1900 until 1920, nations assembled teams of fit, well-muscled men to do battle using a giant rope. This approach ignored the logical zenith the sport could inevitably reach. Physics and the laws of gravity determine that it is in fact the heaviest person, leaning back at just the right angle, who is the hardest to topple. It doesn’t matter how many muscled brutes you put on a rope, they’re not gonna match eight morbidly obese dudes tilting backwards on the opposite end. Imagine the riveting display this new breed of 196kg Olympic heroes would put on. The US would be hard to beat.

For now though, we’ll have to make do with the “new” Olympic sports of golf (walking), and kite surfing (standing) at Rio in August.

So it’s time to get pumped … for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games!

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