If we go by the motto Faster, higher, stronger, perhaps we should just axe every event aside from the 100 meter sprint to measure running speed, the marathon to measure endurance, the long jump for jumping length, the high jump for height, and, oh, weightlifting for strength.


I love the variety of events that the Olympics currently host. The more the better. I think that there ought to be an extra week, to allow some of the more obscure events (like the ten meter air rifle shoot or judo or fencing) to have a better shot at television coverage. I think the breadth of human physical competitive experience deserves as much exposure as possible in as ambitious an event as the Olympics. And there's a lot of variety that needs justice done to it. (As for rhythmic gymnastics, it has an artistry to it that means it can't be dominated by perky 13-year olds with disturbing muscle definition - more power to it.)

Ballroom dancing? Hell yeah. Rock, Paper, Scissors? Only if it's ultimate Japanese Rock, Paper Scissors. Finally, a competition I can medal in.

Because I didn't make the cut for synchronized swimming.

How about removing these as well:

Cycling - track. Those stupid velodromes and bikes that look like spaceships and those helmets. And then the weird thing when four cyclist try to go as slow they can! Have you ever seen that? They're almost falling over, that's how slow they go! Out!

Shooting. There are 17 different shooting events. Seventeen! What's Olympic about it? It's not a sport...it's a silly game. Archery, that's a sport. This is as stupid as having television remote control competitions.

Gymnastics trampoline Yes, you read right! It's in the damn Olympics! Someone will actually win a gold medal for jumping up and down those things you have in the backyard. Well, at least it's "higher"...

Sailing There are eight different classes and I don't understand what any of them have to do in the Olympics. Those are boats. Next come cars and trains.

When it comes to the winter games and the luge I will only paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld:

The luge is probably the only sport where we don't know whether the participation is voluntary or not. It is very possible that the person on the luge has been forced onto it and is just holding on to it for his life. And biathlon? What's next... running and strangling?

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) will never ever remove certain sports from the Games. The important thing is not "Citius. Altius. Fortius." It is "Money, Money, and NBC."

That's right. NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, General Electric's publicity arm. The IOC makes almost all of its money by selling the television rights to broadcast the Games. Sydney was on the auction block for the price of $1.5 billion all told. And guess where the lion's share of that money came from?

NBC. NBC paid over $750 million for the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games in the United States; almost half of the operating budget for the IOC comes from GE. Therefore, you will see more and more camera pleasing sports added to the Olympic program (especially ones that appeal to the most steadfast Olympic viewers, women from their mid-20's to mid-50's, like rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized diving, and a new equestrian event that involves dancing horses (seriously)), while the squeeze is put on sports that have been in the Games almost since their inception (wrestling, rowing, shooting, et. al.).

Why? Synchronized diving is pretty and looks good on camera while wrestling is ugly and does not. These are not the World's Games, these are NBC's Games.

Contrary to Incarnadine's writeup, a number of sports have already been dropped by the Olympics over the years. We no longer get:

which have all featured in the (sometimes distant) past. Other sports have seen some rationalization of disciplines; cycling, for instance, has lost the tandem track event and the 100 km team time trial since 1992, with the kilometre time trial out for 2008 (whilst adding mountain biking, new women's track events and BMX), while all manner of odd athletics events were held in the early years. In many cases qualifying requirements have been set and raised to keep the number of entrants, and thus the length of multi-round competitions, down; the IOC doesn't really hold with the idea that "it is the taking part that counts", and is not particularly enthusiastic to see more Eddie the Eagles or Jamaican bobsledders.

The increased number of participating countries following the collapse of the USSR and the addition of new sports has more or less stretched the Olympics - the Summer Games, at least - as far as it can go in terms of host cities being able to cope with the numbers of athletes, attendants and officials and minimised the chance that it can be held in any but the richest nations, so it is certainly likely that some of the current events will be dropped as others are introduced. Everybody will have their personal favourites (you will always get plenty of purist support for the idea of removing, or possibly banning completely, the subjectively-judged sports - although TV money certainly says otherwise), and the varying geographical distribution of different sports is also significant (the IOC generally considers that a sport to be considered for addition to the summer Olympics should be practised in at least fifty countries, although baseball got added all the same). However one other criterion might be worth considering: the removal of the sports or events where an Olympic gold medal is not the highest possible achievement, as it is in most of the sports involved. To my mind this would mean getting rid of the following, all sports with no shortage of TV coverage on their own account, at least in the areas where they are most popular, in favour of the canoeists, pistol shooters and rowers:

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