Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Olympics, Think What They Could Be

In preparing to watch the summer Olympics I looked over the list of sports. There are the regular events: Free Style Medley in swimming, Weight Lifting, the Uneven Bars in gymnastics, Archery, and the Men's Decathlon to name a few. My friends have been talking for weeks about Micheal Phelps and those cute little imps who make up the Lady's Gymnastic's team. Now, I will tell you very quickly I am not an athlete and am in awe of these competitors' dedication and training. That said, the games are just not what they used to be. Oh, sure we all remember Bruce Jenner's Gold Medal in the Decathlon, Mark Spitz covered in Gold Medals, and Carl Lewis.

But, think how exciting (and entertaining) these games could be if they would bring back some of the more exciting sports they have dropped over the years from the list of competitions. Who needs Free Style Swimming or Shot Put when you can watch Motor Boating, Duel Pistol Shooting, Pigeon Shooting, Club Swinging or Tug of War. Yes, these were all competitive sports held in former Olympiads along with Croquet, Basque Pelota, Roque, Rackets, Tandem Cycling, and Rope Climbing.

Duel Pistol Shooting did not involve the loss of life, in case one wondered. According to one source,  it "required competitors to shoot at mannequins in frock coats . . .the bulls eye were on the dummy's throat." However, Pigeon Shooting did involve loss of life for hundreds of pigeons. (PETA would have a duck.) Hence, the introduction of the modern day sport of Clay Shooting.

Jea de Paume is basically Squash with your hands, ouch! Roque is croquet on a hard surface, who knew? Basque Pelota is described as a game involving a bat, a ball, a basket, and a wall. This is said to be the fastest sport in the world. Tandem Cycling, perhaps would not be very exciting. And, I could pass on Rope Climbing. There are always rumors that juggling was once an Olympic sport, however, I think that it is Club Swinging most folks are referring to. This is said to be the precursor to Rhythmic Gymnastics.

And, what kind of sport is that, dancing while twirling ribbons? All I can figure is that some participants of the opening ceremonies one year lobbied to become an official sport. And, yet they discontinued athletic contests such as Basque Pelota and Rackets? Go figure.


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