August 21 2008

The Oddness Of Olympic Sports

Found a great article on Mental_Floss yesterday that talked about twelve sports that used to be Olympic sports, but have been removed over the years for various reasons.

As we’ve been watching the summer Olympics this year, my family and I have been commenting on some of the sports that are seemingly missing from the games, but yet we get things like race walking.  (my hips hurt after just watching these people for five seconds)  While some of the sports that are mentioned on the Mental_Floss list make sense as to why they got cut (tug-o-war… really?  Was it played by kids at summer camp and they got medals?), I have often wondered why golf, rugby and cricket aren’t included.

Cricket and rugby aren’t exactly popular in the United States, but are hugely popular in other parts of the world.  Just like soccer, which I personally love, got next to no air time on the American broadcasts of the games, it is included due to its popularity in the rest of the world.  So where are these two super star sports?  Cricket might be a challenge due to how long a game could last, but why not rugby?  It makes no sense to me.

Golf is the one that truly blows my mind.  Despite my family working in the golf industry for 29 years, it isn’t a sport that thrills me, but I understand the allure it has to other people.  How in the world can this not be in the Olympics?  Table tennis is still included for crying out loud, but not golf?  All I can figure is that it’s because there are already so many tournaments, but there are just as many, if not more, for soccer.

They’ve announced that squash and karate are being added in 2012 for the London games, and from what I hear, rugby was on the short list, but didn’t make it.  I understand that they have to judge a game’s appeal to the masses for inclusion, but come on, we got BMX racing this year, you can’t tell me that one wasn’t included as an attempt to grab attention away from the X Games, because I can pretty much guarantee you it will be cut in 4 or 5 Olympics from now.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is obviously not that much in touch with the regular world of sporting, and that’s a shame.

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