Advocating for sports in the Olympics-Monday Morning Realist

By Akiem Balium- Host of 10 Minutes on the Clock on The Real Sports Talk Network, and Blogger for TRST’s The Sports Realist. Follow Akiem on Twitter @Li495Akiem

We hear it every four years, especially in the case of Summer Olympics like this one which just wrapped up in London. With all of the sports in the Olympics, there are surely those that you wonder why they’re there. Correct?

The Olympic Games is a who’s who of different athletic sport spread out across a metro areaof a major city. The amount of sports (and venues) in the Olympics has definitely grown over the years.

And, depending what country or city you are in, some of those sports make you scratch your head. You wonder why they’re there. Some of these certain athletic disciplines you may haven’t even have heard of. The viewer or spectator looks on andthinks, “How in the @#$%&! is THIS a sport?”

Tabletennis, Archery, Badminton, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Equestrian, Modern Pentathlon, Judo, Taekwondo, Handball, Canoe Kayak, Canoe Slalom, Sailing, Rowing, etc. Are these even sports? I’ve never heard of them before.

Yeah, they’re sports alright. The only issue is that the main sports media outlet in your country fails to cover these sports during non-Olympic years so most viewers and fans are kept in a bubble. And here lies the problem.

In the USA,our perceived “primary sports” are baseball, basketball and (American) football. Only one of these is an Olympic sport, so notice that there are no calls for THAT sport to be removed from the Olympic programme. This is coming while NBA owners are (greedily) trying to remove their players from the Games for what is likely to be a basketball version of the World Baseball Classic.

That means an NBA promotion machine, disguised as international competition, which fans immediately call BS on.

Given that, I’ve seen & heard from fans and even media members advocate for one sportin particular to be returned to the Olympics—baseball. I have no problem with that. I too would love to see baseball returned to the programme of the Olympiad.

What I take offense to is when these same media members advocate for baseball at the expense of others sports that deserve to be a part of the Olympics just as much as baseball. I’ve heard people say that BMX (recently added to the Olympics forBeijing 2008) should be replaced with a big green & brown diamond. Others want to see synchronized swimming or rhythmic gymnastics replaced with the American pastime.

Then there are sports like Archery, or as one ignorant tweet from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blogger put it, “darts.”

Then, you cut through the BS and realize what some of these folks are doing. They want tochange the Olympic programme to only include sports THEY like or sports that THEY as Americans watch. Or, dare I say, sports ESPN covers.

I’m sure if Skip Bayless had his way, giving lapdances to Tim Tebow would be an Olympic sport. He’d easily win a gold medal for that.

Tim, and America for that matter, sorry for putting that image in your head.

The point being is that when it comes to the Olympics, ESPN is a totally unreliable source forwhat the Games should consist of. Simply on the basis of the Games being an international event. It denotes that it has to include sports that are embraced by countries not named the United States. If it was only a celebration of American sports, they’d be in America every four years.

Being the Olympic fanatic that I am, this strikes a chord with me in a negative fashion.I love it when people advocate for sports to be taken off of the Olympic programme without doing any bit of research of how much it means to just agroup of countries outside of the USA. Rowing is popular in Britain, but not the USA, so Yanks say “Yank IT & give us WWE!” The problem lies true for badminton as well. China loves it, but not us, so pull it out & put car racing in.

Thank goodness none of these imbeciles have a seat in the IOC in Lausanne. That would be scarier than the “bedtime stories” portion of London’s Opening Ceremonies.

Regardless American’s need to realize that we aren’t the only people in the world, and because some sports aren’t mainstream in America, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be in the Olympics. We need to realize that we aren’t the only sports fans in the world.

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Posted on August 13, 2012, in Olympics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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