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Rio 2016

Rio 2016

Rugby Sevens made its first appearance at an Olympics this year and has been a phenomenal success. My Dad (dyed in the wool footie fan, not the most tolerant of non working class sports it has to be said – best not to comment on which football team he supports) actually admitted to enjoying the rugby, the women’s rugby at that. I haven’t picked my jaw up off the floor yet.

Given that rugby is in, that had me wondering why certain sports are included and others are not. Many people take the Michael Phelps out of synchronized swimming for example, so why is that included, when others aren’t? That set me to thinking about sports not in the Olympics.

Sports not in the Olympics include that old British favourite, cricket. Cricket is apparently the second most watched sport in the world, which is not surprising when you think of how popular it is on the Indian subcontinent. If you’ve never visited India, you won’t know that there is a game of cricket going on in every patch of waste ground during daylight hours. And boy do the kids play well! Cricket made the cut for the Olympics in the first modern games in 1896 but never again, because of a lack of entrants. It was considered for 2016 but never made it. It may make a resurgence in the future in its 20/20 format.

Is darts a sport? Discuss

Is darts a sport? Discuss

Darts. I can never take the idea of darts as a sport seriously (discuss) but many disagree with me. Word on the street says that largely thanks to pressure from various official dart organisations, the Olympic Committee may incorporate it in the 2024 games.

Squash. I thought Squash was an Olympic sport, but it turns out I was wrong (not often you’ll hear me saying that!). It is estimated that globally, 17 million people around the world play squash. The game has been touted before but rejected in favour of wrestling. A new bid is expected for the 2024 games.

Polo. Perhaps the Olympics isn’t posh enough for polo. It was a part of the Olympics until 1936, but faded into relative obscurity for a while. Now that the rich are winning at life again, polo may make a resurgence. That’s one for the dressage/sailing crowd I guess.

For the same reason, lacrosse made it to the Olympics twice (in 1904 and 1908), and was a demonstration sport at the Olympics in 1928, 1932 and 1948. There’s a lovely nugget of information about lacrosse on the Tinterweb that suggests that in 1904 the players on the bronze medal-winning Canadian lacrosse team consisted of Mohawk Indians, who had names such as Rain In Face, Snake Eater and Man Afraid Soap. Magic!

Bowling made it into the Seoul Olympic Games in Korea as a demonstration sport, but only 20 countries participated and it hasn’t been seen since.

Netball. When I think of school netball, it was a fairly static sport that didn’t require much effort. If you’ve ever seen it at club level you’ll know it’s superfast, in your face, kick arsed bitchiness. It may make it in the future.

Karate is one of the sports not in the Olympics despite other martial arts making an appearance. This is because there is no standard style of “sport” karate, unlike taekwondo or Judo for example.

Chess. As with darts, it’s difficult to know whether you can define chess as a sport or simply as a leisure activity. But the IOC recognised chess as a sport way back in 1924. So far it is one of the sports not in the Olympics and likely to remain so.

Orienteering. I always think of orienteering as ‘getting lost and trying to find your way home again.’ It’s not an Olympic sport, but it is the World Games (not to be confused with The Hunger Games).

There’s no cross country running or baseball or softball. The latter two have only recently been removed from the programme, as has windsurfing. Windsurfing has supposedly been replaced with kiteboarding, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this yet.

Skateboarding half pipe for the Summer Olympics - that would be cool!

Skateboarding half pipe for the Summer Olympics – that would be cool!

While BMX cycling is an Olympic sport, you don’t see any of the half pipe or acrobatics that you see in the winter Olympics on skis and snowboards. This is an oversight I reckon. Very dramatic stuff! Similarly, there’s no skating, which could be held in a similar style venue to the velodrome. The ice skating (racing) is always something to behold.

Tug-of-War. Well why not? It’s an ancient sport, beloved of those deep in their cups and was an Olympic sport until the early twentieth century.

Other Olympic sports that are now sports not in the Olympics

• Croquet
• Motor boating
• Plunge for distance (where the competitors began with a standing dive, then remained motionless underwater for one minute or until their heads broke the surface of the water, whichever came first). Hmmm….. It was held once in Paris, in 1904 and was won by the USA.
• Underwater swimming. This was dropped because of a lack of appeal for spectators. I.Am.Not.Making.This.Up.
• Obstacle race for swimming. This was swum over 200m. Competitors had to climb over a pole, then scramble over a row of boats, and then swim under another row of boats. All this in the River Seine! They really ought to bring this back, it sounds brilliant.
• Jeu de paume – an older version of lawn tennis
• Racquets – like Squash

Bring back chariot racing

Bring back chariot racing

A sport once found in the Ancient Olympics that we ought to bring back is chariot racing. I can channel my inner Ben Hur. Oh the drama! Oh the bad acting!

Over to you
Which sport would you like to see included in the Olympics in 2020. What’s your sport? Is darts a sport? Are you watching the synchronized swimming? Do you smuggle budgies in your pants? All of these burning questions can be discussed below or on our Facebook page 😉
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