Once upon a time, when the modern Olympics were in their infancy, the games were not nearly as regulated as they are now (except for the bathrooms, which apparently are still fairly unregulated). In those days, hosting nations were free to
make up invent include some lesser known sports in the competition (this is true).
- In 1896 there was an event (100 meter freestyle swimming) that was only open to members of the Greek navy. That level of specificity may be going a bit too far but the Greek navy participants seemed pretty happy about it. All three of them who entered the race anyway.
- This was followed in 1900 by the Swimming Obstacle Race. Competitors had to climb over a pole, get over a row of boats, then swim under another row of boats. While this now reeks of various made-for-TV competitions, I think this is the type of event that would be a marvelous addition to Olympic fun. And I wouldn’t even need a commentator to explain it to me.
- That year the Tug of War also made its Olympic debut. It was so popular they kept it in the games for 5 Olympics, but they changed the rules each time (just for fun and international controversy). Again, a winner in my opinion.
It seems to me that random events like these would add a great deal of fun and surprise to the games and I am considering starting a petition to bring back the events that would only be interesting once every four years. Kind of like curling, but without even that much practice. Being the kind of mom I am, I have thoughtfully come up with a few options for the IOC to add to the next Winter Olympics.
Snowman building competition. (Apologies to anyone who is offended by “snowman”. It seemed like a better use of language than “snowbeing”.) This will be a timed event (3 hour limit) judged (by a group of extremely knowledgeable kindergarteners) based on size, design, use of snow, and snacks served to the judges.
Obstacle speed skating. This long track style race includes slightly tipsy spectators on the ice (in skates) who are simultaneously competing for Best All Around Amateur skater.
Skate jumping. Not like the pairs kind. More of a combo of snow cross and speed skating. Cool, huh?
Cross Country tug of war. Teams compete elimination style in a tug of war with all competitors on classic cross country skis.
Ski Dancing. Either cross country or freestyle skis. Any combination of two skiers allows (HA, Mr. Putin). Future sports to include snowboard dancing.
Driveway shoveling. Open only those who hand-shovel. Style points for tossing snow and grumbling about the polar vortex. The Americans from the Northeast are heavily favored given their expertise with the white stuff.
Polar Bear Plunge. This is popular enough to make it official. We could add interest by including real polar bears. Hungry ones.
What are your ideas for new Olympic sports?
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