more about the Olympics!
New and Improved Olympics
by Mad Dog
not every day you can hear sports announcers repeatedly say shuttlecock
while trying not to snicker, and watch competitors win gold
medals for flitting around twirling ribbons in the name of rhythmic
Olympics time again. This is the biennial sports event in which amateur
athletes compete for medals while wondering why their professional
counterparts are raking in the big bucks and they’ll be lucky to get
their mug plastered on a used Wheaties box. It’s impossible to miss. TV
stations are running countdowns on the nightly news (“Only nine more
days until the women’s mixed doubles table tennis
quarter-semi-hemi-demi-finals, Lisa!”). Time devoted a special
issue to it (“Sleeker bodies, tighter outfits, less unsightly body
hair, more steroids!”). And those ubiquitous five linked rings — now
named after the five biggest corporate sponsors — are everywhere.
There’s no question the Olympics are special. After all, it’s not
every day you see someone running through the streets carrying a lit
torch. Well, not unless you live in the inner city, are watching footage
of WTO demonstrations, or catch the final scene of Frankenstein Runs
the 3000-Meter Steeplechase. It’s also not every day you can hear
sports announcers repeatedly say shuttlecock while trying not to
snicker, learn that men don’t wear bloomers when they play field
hockey, and watch competitors win gold medals for flitting around
twirling ribbons in the name of rhythmic gymnastics.
hoping to launch the post-modern pentathlon, which will include the 40GB
iPod song shuffle, the 300dB cell phone shout, the marathon coffee drink
order, and the SUV demolition derby. Needless to say, the uniforms will
be all black.
There’s a lot of tradition in the Olympics. They began a long time ago
in Ancient Greece where the athletes competed naked. Unfortunately this
was before the Spice Channel was even around to cover it. The modern day
version was launched in 1896 when Baron Pierre de Coubertin revived them
as a means to sell ads because TV hadn’t been invented yet and, face
it, the upkeep on a castle can’t be cheap. This year about 10,500
athletes from 201 countries will be in Athens to participate in 301
events. To put that in perspective, if each one of them were to send me
$10 at the end of their event I wouldn’t have to work for a long time.
If they would send me $100 I could retire. Hell, most of them are
subsidized by their government anyway, so it’s not like it’s any
sweat off their back, so to speak.
are a lot of differences between the original Olympics and the current
ones. For one thing, the modern Olympics are held every two years,
rotating between summer and winter sports. Obviously the ancient Greeks
didn’t have the winter Olympics because ice skates, Red Buttons, the
Ice Capades, and the Jamaican bobsled team hadn’t been invented yet.
On the other hand, they did have the feta throw, synchronized Spartan
toss, and Greek-style wrestling (*wink*wink*) so you know they had fun.
An example of how things have changed is the pentathlon (from the Greek
“penta” for five and “athlon” for incongruous combination of
sports). The modern pentathlon includes shooting, fencing, swimming,
riding, running, and telling the truth. Sorry, that last one’s the
modern sodium pentathol. These are much handier skills for modern people
to know than the originals, since they can be put to good use in
everyday life, especially if you’re a bank robber, drug addict, or go
to a public school. There’s already talk of updating this event for
the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. They’re hoping to launch the post-modern
pentathlon, which will include the 40GB iPod song shuffle, the 300dB
cell phone shout, the marathon coffee drink order, and the SUV
demolition derby. Needless to say, the uniforms will be all black.
If they really want people to watch the Olympics they need
to make some bigger changes. Instead of shooting arrows at targets, why
don’t they set up Athenà and Phèvos, this year’s Olympic mascots,
and let everyone have a go at them?
It’s important to keep the Olympics up to date since it’s harder
than ever to hold an audience’s attention. After all, we’re more
used to watching action shows like The World’s Goriest Sports
Accidents With Bones Sticking Out than we are dressage. In fact, if
they were smart the Olympic committee would let MTV take over that
event, call it Undressage, and watch the ratings go through the
roof. Especially if Jerry Springer hosted it and the riders were all
naked co-eds whose bust size is higher than their IQ.
Olympics have been about royalty sports, like equestrians (“The
sport of kings”), badminton (“The sport of princes”), and
synchronized swimming (“The sport of queens”). In the last Olympics
they added fresh, new, exciting events like trampoline, triathlon,
taekwondo, and synchronized diving. This year there’s only one new
event — catfighting. I mean, women’s wrestling. Hopefully sponsored
If they really want people to watch
the Olympics they need to make some bigger changes. An event like the
400-meter Shark Dodge would definitely get people to tune in. Dumping
that boring greco-roman wrestling and letting the WWE take over would do
wonders for the sport. Hell, I’ll put my money on The Rock over Rulon
Gardner any day. They should quit shooting air rifles and let Arnold —
I mean, Governor Schwarzenegger — compete with an AK-47 and all the
bandoliers he can fit around his chest. And instead of shooting arrows
at targets, why don’t they set up Athenà and Phèvos, this year’s
Olympic mascots, and let everyone have a go at them?
But alas, it’s too late to make changes this year. Not to worry. Just
sit back, relax, pop a couple of dolmas in your mouth, chase them with
some ouzo, and throw a few plates — hey, there’s an event they could
have held that would only be appropriate this year — and enjoy
yourself. Let the games begin!
©2004 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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