Break up the OIympics?

First reaction to the idea of adding surfing to the Olympics, maybe with an artificial wave pool: “Hey, let’s see if we can make the Olympics more expensive to host! Maybe we can build more single-use venues!”

Wrestling had to fight to stay in the Olympics, and all they need from a physical point of view to host that is a gym in which they can put down some mats. Baseball and softball are out, and they only required some dirt and some bleachers. The post-Games use for those venues could be everything from more baseball to pastures for cows.

So in the current climate, with the Summer Games at maximum capacity by any measure, surfing simply can’t be added.

Key phrase: “in the current climate.” So we would need to add a wrinkle somehow, and that brings us to a radical idea I’ve kicked around in my head a bit.

Suppose you added another Olympics beyond the Winter and Summer Olympics. Or a couple of offshoot Olympics.

You could have a Modern Summer Games, adding skateboarding, roller sports and sport climbing while shifting a few sports lost in the current Summer program — trampoline and other non-traditional gymnastics, synchronized swimming, rugby sevens, etc.

And you could have an Ocean Games. Sailing is always stuck by itself, nowhere near the rest of the Olympic venues. Why not surround it with wakeboarding (which bid for 2020 inclusion), surfing and a few other ocean or beach events? Maybe have open-water swimming at those Games so swimmers would have a better chance of swimming in the traditional pool in the traditional Summer Games and then shift gears for open-water races.

The current Summer Games are far too big. The options are to cut them or spread them out. Those of us dreading the 28-month gap between Olympics would prefer the latter. So would surfers, surely.

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7 thoughts on “Break up the OIympics?

  1. For inclusion, a sport must be part of a federation recognized by the IOC, which means membership in the Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF), Might be fun to make a chart of current ISFs that are in the Summer or Winter games, plus these, and figure out how many different offshoots you’d need to make it work.

    http://www.arisf.org/

  2. There should be surfing in a separate Beach Olympic Games. They could put Beach Volleyball in there too, Beach Soccer, Handball, Lifesaving…. (A decade ago I would have thought such a thing was ridiculous, but now they have Youth Olympic Games so what’s one more Olympic Games?)

  3. You got me thinking…

    How is it that the Winter Olympics came about as a separate Olympics? Until 1992 both Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same year, the Winter Olympics being for sports that couldn’t be held in the Summer Olympics, a sort of warmup event. Why should there only be a Summer and Winter Olympics? Why not a “Fall” Olympics and a “Spring” Olympics in different years? An “ocean” Olympics? Maybe a “mountain” Olympics, too, for crazy things like free solo climbing contests.

    The 1900 and 1904 Olympics were held in conjunction with the International Exhibitions of Paris and Saint Louis of those same years and the different Olympic sports events were held throughout the duration of the World’s Fairs which lasted some six months.

    According to Wikipedia: “The 1900 Summer Olympics, today officially known as the Games of the II Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1900 in Paris, France. No opening or closing ceremonies were held; competitions began on May 14 and ended on October 28. The Games were held as part of the 1900 World’s Fair. 997 competitors took part in 19 different sports. Women took part in the games for the first time and sailor Hélène de Pourtalès became the first female Olympic champion.”

    Wikipedia: “The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States [as part of the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in] an extended sports program lasting from July 1 to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.”

    After the 1904 combined World’s Fair/Olympics, World’s Fairs and the Olympics went their separate way.

    Interestingly, Wikipedia has this about the 1908 Olympics: “The 1908 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the IV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in 1908 in London, England, United Kingdom…Lasting a total of 187 days, or 6 months and 4 days (!!!), these games were the longest in modern Olympics history.”

    Who says Olympics were only supposed to be 16 days?

    If a modern Olympics were to last 6 months (very, very doubtful it would be done.) every sport imaginable could be contested. The time frame would not be an issue. However, other rather obvious constraints would limit the scale of the event…

  4. Who says Olympics were only supposed to be 16 days?

    At the risk of sounding snarky, American television viewers did.

    They would lose interest if the Games went on very much longer than a fortnight. Then NBC would lose ratings, lose advertisers, and wouldn’t regularly cough up the billions needed to finance the movement.

  5. Actually, according to Wikipedia, the Dutch were responsible for that Olympics games reform, back in 1928. Cutting the Summer Games to 16 days was a cost saving measure that probably saved the Summer Olympics. All the previous Olympics with the exception of the 1896 were months long affairs. The previous 1924 Olympics (made famous in “Chariots of Fire”) lasted almost three months.

    NBC losing ratings? Weren’t they 5th or something like that a year ago among networks? I can’t find any numbers on the web, but NBC was in dire straits not too long ago. Without the Olympics were would they be?

    It would seem they would be more than happy to run the Olympics year round given the alternative, even if it ran Olympics into the ground ratingwise. TV networks are prone to do that. Very shortsighted. “Who wants to be a millionaire” and “american idol” come to mind for some reason.

    If NBC didn’t cough up the billions for the privilege of broadcasting the Olympics in the USA, ESPN or FoxSport or someone else would be more than happy to.

    If it is true that the 2012 Summer Olympics drew the greatest TV audience in history, as has been reported, t.v. broadcasters, given their nature, would be prone to want more Olympics and longer Olympics for their money, not less or just the same.

  6. “If NBC didn’t cough up the billions for the privilege of broadcasting the Olympics in the USA, ESPN or FoxSport or someone else would be more than happy to.”

    Not if it was a months-long event. Remember, we’re talking about sports Americans don’t pay attention to for 3 years and 50 weeks. The spectacle of the event makes it compelling, and extending the Games dilutes the spectacle. You cannot just say, we get great ratings, let do it for twice as long. It doesn’t work that way and the network execs know it.

  7. We already have a third Olympics. It’s called the X-games. Let’s stop trying to make the Olympics like the X-games.

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