Ridiculous Events: Then, Now, and Tomorrow!

Over the past few weeks of presentations in our class, the one that really caught my interest covered the topic of strange Olympic events of the past (tug-o-war, pigeon shooting, etc.). I was compelled to search the internet for more information about some of these sports and, maybe, discover why someone once thought it was a good idea to take them seriously.
During my search, I stumbled across this article.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19176_5-ridiculous-sports-you-wont-believe-were-olympic-events_p2.html

If you get the chance to read it, you should. It gives a humorous look into some ridiculous Olympic events of the past (some were covered in class and some were not). For example, we are all accustomed to watching athletes dive for style, but one event used to score them on distance; “the long jump with the possibility of drowning”, as the article puts it. Underwater Swimming, another event in the early 1900s, was an understandable failure due to lack of waterproof cameras at the time. Viewers would often be clueless as to who won the race! Another pool activity mentioned, Solo Synchronized Swimming, just sounds like a complete oxymoron.
As ridiculous as these events of the past seem, should we really be so judgmental of them? Afterall,curling has only grown in popularity over the past few Games. Also, we still have an event that combines cross-country skiing with shooting a rifle! Perhaps in a few years, people will look back and wonder what the hell we were thinking.

Keeping in that frame of mind, what can we expect from the future as far as outlandish events go? I remember seriously discussing Pole Dancing in class. What’s next? Ultimate Frisbee? Kanjam? Thinking even further ahead, will technological advances of the future allow for even more outlandish and ridiculous events like jet-pack polo or Matrix-style kung-fu?
What do you think? Have we seen the last of these strange events, or is the strangest yet to come?

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Australians bringing the party to London 2012

Sebastian Coe praised the Sydney Olympics in his speech yesterday, commending  Australians for setting the standard for all future Games.  Coe accredited the fun atmosphere of the the 2000 Olympics to Australian citizens, adding that all Olmypics down the line will look to measure up to Sydney’s example.

Coe was more than just impressed by the liveliness and the party atmosphere of the Sydney Games — he accredited the 2000 Olympics’ success to the support of Australians.  The head of the London Games is dead-set on matching Sydney, so much so that he is enlisting the help of Australian citizens.

Sebastian Coe is offering financial incentive for Australians attending the London 2012 Games.  Those visiting the London Games are said to receive tax rebates for their attendance.  If the boss is so determined to make his Olympic Games triumphant that he will offer monetary compensation, he definitely stands a chance.  It looks like we can expect London 2012 to be one big party!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/coe-calls-for-plenty-of-sydney-in-london-2012/story-e6frg7mf-1226054300153

The Death of Osama Bin Laden, and the Effects it Will Have on the Olympics

It goes without saying that the death of Osama Bin Laden is a huge achievement for the United States, but is it necessarily a good thing.  Coming from an American standpoint it is great to finally say that our endless 10 year war has had some achievement, but I feel that it’s only going to spawn more terrorist attacks.  IOC President Jacques Rogge and I both have the same opinion in saying that this war on terrorism achievement, does not warrant lowering the security at the London 2012 Olympics.  Nevertheless, the death of Osama Bin Laden should only cause the IOC to significantly raise their security well  above their previous understandings.

Jacques Rogge stated, ” We have to go for a maximum security and we will continue to go for a maximum security.”  Now what this statement makes me question what exactly is maximum security?  I always thought maximum security is where they place inmates that are deemed to be the most dangerous people on earth.  Is Jacques suggesting that security at the 2012 Olympics be as tight as a maximum-security cell?  If that’s the case, then what is the point in going to an Olympic game.  Everyone can agree that flying is one of the most annoying procedures to go through because of all the security checks and “strip searches.”  However, these security standings are what keep us safe from potential terrorist harm.  I question whether the people who want to attend the Olympic Games would want to go through the hassle of all the security checks in order to view an extremely pricey game.  I almost feel that if security at the 2012 Olympic Games mirror the security at various airports, many people are going to be influenced into not going.

But one needs to question, is the price of security really worth it?  And the answer is yes.  There is no way the Olympics could afford another treacherous situation like the 1972 Olympic massacre.  It is very sad that we live in a world where we cannot even enjoy a sporting event without questioning our safety.  Above all, I feel that the highest level of security needs to be available at the 2012 Olympic Games, with the convenience of the attendees in mind.  I hope that the security is effective, quick, and widespread in order to ensure the safety for all of the 2012 Olympic attendees.

Olympic Inequality: Poor Nations vs. Wealthy Nations

It appears that not all countries are equal when it comes to the Olympics.  Recently certain countries in Africa have begun to voice their complaints about this inequality.  Not all nations have the financial resources to support or train potential Olympic athletes.  Therefore, in order to reach their full ability, athletes from countries such as Mozambique and Senegal have started to migrate to wealthier nations in order to compete.  These wealthy nations have been accused by many African countries of stealing the best African athletes, thereby denying the poorer African countries from encouraging sport.

In order to prevent the problem from continuing, and possibly escalating, the Africans want to tighten the regulations surrounding athlete citizenship.  They want to make it more difficult for their athletes to be able to emigrate and compete for other nations at the Olympics.  Discussions of this subject have been brought to the attention of the African National Olympic Committees.  Many leaders of athletics organizations within African are frustrated that even though some African athletes are performing well on the track, there are many African countries that are still not capable of financially supporting an athlete during the necessary qualifying meets.  In other words, African athletes have the potential to excel at the Olympics, however, many African countries are not rich enough to provide the monetary aid necessary for their native athletes to train and compete at a professional level.  Recommendations designed to even the playing field between rich and poor nations and their athletes have been proposed to the IOC; however, no new official ruling or regulations have been implemented thus far.  Unfortunately, it seems that until the IOC steps takes action or until poorer nations can provide their athletes with the financial backing required for Olympic level competition, then this problem may continue to occur.

Such problems seem to undermine what the Olympics is all about.  Athletes are supposed to represent their countries at the worldwide level; they are not supposed to move from nation to nation just to compete.  It is almost as
if the Olympics has gotten too big; a sort of force that is now being used to
separate the “haves” from the “have-nots”.  For these reasons alone, the IOC may want to consider taking some form of action in order to promote a better sense of fair play and equality.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/london2012/8074786/London-2012-Olympics-African-nations-could-push-for-more-automatic-qualifiers.html

Safety for the 2012 Games

Safety for any major sporting event is usually a top priority for the organization that plan and hold them. For every Olympics that come around, the threat of a possible bombing or terror attack is always possible with extreme measures of safety required from both the host city and the IOC. Next year’s games in London have a particular level of safety concern considering their handling and preparedness (or lack there of) following the 2005 terrorist bombings.

“London Underground was criticised for taking 50 minutes to evacuate the Tube network despite early reports of a terrorist attack; There was a “significant failure” to set up clear rendezvous points at the Tube stations, leading to a “confused period” when 999 crews did not know what each of the others was doing.”

London needs to recognize the severity of their safety precautions and the necessity of a strict plan of action should an attack occur. Following the 2005 events, Peter Bradley, the chief executive of London Ambulance Service, said: “I recognize that certain aspects of our response should have been better. Communications issues affected the speed at which we were able to send crews to some of the scenes.” If London is ready to commit, they need to prove to the IOC, and the world, that they can handle this kind of event.

Personally, when I was in London studying abroad last year, the underground system was in full swing for a complete renovation of updated tracks, trains, and stations. London is spending millions of dollars in upgrading their facilities to have the most up-to-date and state of the art equipment to handle such a large crowd. Along with these transportation updates, their security was always around the stations patrolling the sites for any possible misconduct. There were also emergency call phones around the tube stops should any emergency come up. Hosting the Olympics in any city comes with an immense amount of responsibility, but London in particular has a lot to prove at next year’s games – and hopefully they do successfully.

Reference article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/8498250/77-inquest-London-woefully-unprepared-for-terrorist-attack-on-2012-Olympics-warns-coroner.html

Security still number one

With the recent death of Osama Bin Laden, the world is a little on edge. According to The Telegraph, security is still the main priority of the London 2012 Olympics. However, the security will not be heightned due to the recent events. IOC President Jacques Rogge says, “”Since 1972 in Munich security is the number one priority for the Olympic Games.”

I think that this comparison is really interesting. In Munich, a group of terrorists held a group of athletes captive while the whole world watched. Recently, the United States announces that the man who plotted such a terrible attack has been killed by US forces. They are really not similar events but they could become so in the future. I think that the IOC is worried that this recent murder might be cause for another terrorist attack during the Olumpic Games, where all countries will be together in the same place at the same time. Even though I think that they might be worried, they are not planning on changing their security plans.

This might not be the best idea. I think that the IOC should consider how serious the Taliban can be and re-think their security plan. The world would be conpletely devastated if it suffered another act of violence on the national stage. This country would be completely devastated if it suffered another attack like 9/11.

I think that with the recent developments in anti-terrorist efforts, the IOC needs to take a few additonal measures in order to be able to say that the did everything they possibly could to ward off security breaches.

Olympic Basketball

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2011/02/19/mens-basketball-faces-olympic-deadline-hurdle/

I tweeted about this story earlier in the semester and figured that I would provide my insight on it now.  According to the story, the official men’s basketball roster will be due by June 18th, 2012.  If the NBA finals do not end in four or five games, it would mean that the NBA season would still be going on past when the roster is due.  The article raises the concern that there will be no training camp prior to selecting the roster, meaning that Krzyzewski and Colangelo will not have the opportunity to see the players play together.  This presents a problem because they will be picking the team from two different pools of players, the team that competed in the 2008 Olympics and the team that participated in the World Championships last summer.  Both of these teams won their respective tournaments.

I’m going to go ahead and say that I’m not too concerned about this.  The team didn’t have any type of training camp prior to the Beijing games and we saw how that worked out.  The team should be picked based on how the players play during the regular season anyway, when their approach is much more serious.  Having play in a training camp against each other lacks the intensity of an NBA game.  Also, this isn’t high school tryouts here.  Krzyewski and Colangelo don’t need to do much research to know the capabilities of each player.  There may be a few cases in which guys are playing above or below their capabilities, but that shouldn’t make much of a different at this level.  The only legitimate concern is injuries.  As the article says, though, teams are allowed to make roster changes if injuries do occur.  The bottom line is that the U.S. will have the most talented team on the floor regardless of who they play, so Krzyewski should make his decision based on which players he feels will play into his system.