Monday, August 6, 2012

Time to dump basketball, soccer and tennis from the summer Olympics

It probably won’t happen, but the International Olympic Committee should drop basketball, soccer and tennis from the summer games.
The best athletes in men’s basketball and soccer and men’s and women’s tennis are already richly rewarded from professional leagues. Olympic competitions for those sports are unnecessary.
The best players in basketball gravitate to the National Basketball Association in the U.S. The NBA championship is the top accolade in that sport. Does LeBron James really need a gold medal to go along with his championship ring? I think not.
And the lopsided U.S. victories at the Olympics are an embarrassment.
In fairness, women’s basketball would have to be dropped from the Olympics as well. Women have the WNBA in the U.S., but the league is struggling.
In soccer (a.k.a. football outside the U.S.), the FIFA World Cup determines the best national team in the world. End of story. There are World Cup championships for men’s and women’s teams.
Tennis has an established professional circuit. There’s no need to have it at the Olympics.
It isn’t unheard of for the Olympics to drop high-profile sports. The Olympic committee nixed baseball and softball starting with the 2012 games.
The 2012 London games include 26 categories of sports.
The games wouldn’t be such a financial burden on the host cities if they cut back on some of the venues and sports.
If I were in charge, I’d scrap the equestrian events as well. That’s a sport for the very rich and they have enough competitive forums. Same goes with sailing. Get rid of it.
I’d also toss out badminton and table tennis. Their time has come and gone.
The Olympics are bringing back golf with the 2016 games in Rio. But once again, that competition is unnecessary since the best of the sport play professionally. So, I’d get rid of golf too.
In the long history of the Olympics, sports have come and gone. Games no longer competed at the summer Olympics include tug-of-war and live pigeon shooting. (See “9 Really Strange Sports That Are No Longer in the Olympics”; Time, July 16, 2012.)
Sports seriously considered for the upcoming Olympics have included karate, squash, wake boarding and roller sports.
They should consider adding drop ball as seen on “Adventure Time.”

Resources:

List of Olympic sports (Olympic.org)

Olympic sports (Wikipedia)

Summer Olympics (Wikipedia)

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