Two of the most admirable sports and human endeavours I am sure we can agree. And yet at the Olympics they antagonise me to the level I find myself ignoring the events at the Games.
Why? Well I am never doubting the dedication and fitness required. These girls and guys are phenomenal athletes. Swimming also has the added dimension of technique being a fundamental to carve through the water efficiently. My gripe is the amount of events they have and therefore the number of medals available.
Somehow Chris Hoy managed to become the Britain’s most successful Olympian with 6 golds over just two Games. On the back of it, he got his knighthood whatever that is worth these days. His gold medals have come in the 1km, the sprint, the team sprint and the keirin. While Team GB gets a lot of medals out of this, it’s bizarre that Hoy gets more plaudits than, for example, a gymnast who has to train in a variety of disciplines and genuinely put their bodies on the line. His collection indicates the events are too similar.
Swimmers gain in the same way by having introducing four different strokes at almost each distance. No one offers gold medals for runners to do the 100m backwards or skipping. While each event, including the numerous rounds, takes a lot out of the athletes, the collection of medals garnered by swimmers and cyclists suggests the events are too manageable, too easy to compete in.
I’d scrap the butterfly. Who swims like that anyway? And how is it faster? The backstroke could also go. Again if I was in my local pool I wouldn’t appreciate or respect someone swimming backwards. Your mother also told you to look where you are going. The breaststroke could stay maybe. It’s everyone’s friend. However I’d keep the medley. That’s where these outer strokes can be appreciated.
I’d add in athletics, the triple jump is also a bizarre and unnecessary event. High jumps and long jumps at least have some practical basis. Throwing the discus and hammer could be merged. At least the javillan has some great, historic basis.
While I am on it, water polo is ridiculous, yet maintains it’s place and then they have the nerve to try and get rid of weightlifting, one of the true iconic sports of the Olympics and a true measure of man/woman. These people are risking renal collapse!
Don’t even get me started on the Winter Fun Games.