Myriad links: The Onion on water polo, dreary Americans, new Olympic sports

A few late-night links that I haven’t had a chance to work into full-fledged posts today:

1. The Onion brought the funny on water polo and other sports (if you consider baseball a sport) in one of their video segments.

2. At Fox Sports, Jen Floyd Engel ponders the difference between American “thou shalt not cheer in the pressbox” journalists and those from elsewhere, who cheer, hug, get kisses from athletes, etc.

Having spent my last Olympics sharing press tables with a corps of Russian journalists that was mostly grumpy old men (the exception was the lone woman, who looked a bit like Tori Amos and might have smiled once), I can tell you it’s not universal. But yes, many other countries are a bit more … expressive. Most of the time, it’s harmless. In soccer pressboxes, though, we’ve all seen a few really annoying situations.

3. Following up on the fun discussion we’re having on golf in the Olympics (the driving range/miniature golf biathlon has potential), I’ve seen some musing on the next wave of sports competing to make the Olympic programme. Around the Rings tells us the IOC is warning sports federations not to spend a lot on their campaigns, because that would be unfair to those who don’t have much to spend. (Imagine American TV advertising if the Republicans and Democrats had to limit themselves to what the Green Party can afford.)

Via Andrew Sullivan’s blog (Andrew’s on vacation), The Atlantic takes a look at all of the contenders. The most sensible inclusion would be karate. It has immense global popularity, and no one needs to build a new venue — just rotate it into the same arena or convention center that’s hosting judo, taekwondo or weightlifting. But no one said these decisions made sense.

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5 thoughts on “Myriad links: The Onion on water polo, dreary Americans, new Olympic sports

  1. Modern pentathlon has survived at least one effort to knock it out — the combined running/shooting phase was an effort to make it a bit more TV-friendly. It’ll face another fight for 2020.

    Golf might be a short-timer.

    The IOC may add a sport or two but has been holding fast to an overall cap on the number of athletes in the Games.

    http://www.olympic.org/mr-zaiqing-yu?articleid=133067

    http://www.olympic.org/olympic-programme-commission?tab=PROGRAMME-REVIEW

  2. There’s a bit of a dilemma here for the IOC with a self-imposed limit of 28 sports – now reached with the addition of golf and rugby sevens – and a reluctance to remove sports from the games, ie. only baseball/softball since the 1930’s.

    I still think modern pentathlon will survive, partly because of the efforts to update it, but mainly because of the links to de Coubertin which I think play with the largely conservative IOC. To identify a vulnerable sport we probably need to look at which sport is most favoured to gain acceptance with the IOC among current bidders.

    Squash – great sport but not very televisual as I can confirm from personal experience having watched it at the Commonwealth Games. Also there are already three ‘racket’ sports in the olympics.

    cont.

  3. Baseball/Softball – only just removed from the games and what has changed in the meantime? Also, the only geographical part of the world’s sport market which the IOC hasn’t yet penetrated is the Indian sub-continent with nearly a quarter of the world population. Given that it dwarfs all other sports they will only do so if 20/20 cricket comes into the games in the future and ultimately there is only likely to be room for one bat and ball sport.

    Wushu and Wakeboarding – unsure if I’ve got the names right which reflects the fact I know absolutely nothing about these sports. I think wushu is a martial art but with judo and taekwondo already in the games and karate trying to join them I wouldn’t have high hopes for them.

    Karate – probably the favorite for inclusion among the applicants but against that are the limit of 28 sports and the presence of two martial art sports. I think one would have to go to accomodate karate, almost certainly taekwondo. This seems the likliest scenario if there is to be any change.

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