Today the IOC began a three-day meeting in Acapulco, Mexico. Aside from the palm trees, azure waters, and warm sun, IOC officials have some important issues to discuss. Ironically, while they are all gathered in a sunny, tropical destination, they will be voting on issues concerning sporting events which are hoping for inclusion in frigid snow-covered host cities, beginning in 2014.
The IOC could create an American Idol-style show for IOC Committee results and I’d watch. I can imagine ESPN or NBC hosting the show, with Bob Costas or Rod Black as the emcee. They’d revel in keeping the audience enticed:
“And, now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Will women’s ski jumping be included in the 2014 Winter Olympics, held in Sochi, Russia? We’ll find out…right after the break.”
The following events are petitioning for admittance into the 2014 Games as official medal events. Here’s a quick rundown:
Women’s Ski Jumping. I’ve stated my case as to why this sport should be included in the Olympics. According to the most recent AP Report, IOC officials may accept women’s ski jumping “on a conditional basis, pending a review of the quality of competition at the 2011 world championships in Norway.” This statement just screams gender discrimination. No other event has ever had to lobby the IOC as arduously for inclusion. Nor have any other athletes ever had to battle the discrimination of IOC officials like Gian Franco Kasper. (Although women’s marathon runners might disagree.)
Snowboarding – Slopestyle Event. If we add this event, what’s to keep the IOC from adding skateboarding to the Summer Games? Of course, there are many who would argue that skateboarding should be in the Olympics. I disagree. With BMX racing having just been added, I worry skateboarding isn’t far behind.
Slopestyle Skiing and Half-Pipe Skiing. I’m a huge fan of skiing. But are these events really needed when we already have moguls and aerials? If we keep adding new medal events for every existing sport that now incorporates tricks, the Olympics will truly become a three-ring circus. What’s next? An Evil Knievel-style course for luge and bobsled? Or speed skating that incorporates aerial moves?
Team Events for Luge and Figure Skating.
- Luge. I have no major objections to adding a team event for luge, but I don’t really see any argument to support it either. If the IOC adds a team event for luge, why wouldn’t it also add team events for bobsleigh and skeleton? And do we really need a team event, considering that there aren’t several different races within luge? What makes the team event in gymnastics exciting is that all teams and their athletes must compete on the same apparatuses. There just doesn’t seem to enough variety in the sport of sliding to warrant the need for any team events.
- Figure Skating. Figure skating can make a better case for having an Olympic team event than luge, but this one just doesn’t scream “needed” like women’s ski jumping or possibly alpine ski racing.
Mixed Biathlon Relay. Here’s my main argument against this petition: Do we have mixed relay in speed skating, track & field, or swimming? No. Then why should we start now? Biathlon already has five events in which men and women compete. I’ve grown to appreciate biathlon, but I’m not sure that I really see a strong need for another event.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there’s a fine line of including new sports and/or events without turning the Olympics into a sideshow. I might have my opinions, but I don’t envy the IOC officials. Well, being in Acapulco right now would be awfully nice….
Swifter, Higher, Stronger.