My earliest memories of the Olympics is watching news film of Jessie Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I wasn’t born yet but sometime in my youth I learned about Owens and saw those films.
From there my memories pretty much jump to 1960 and more news footage of Cassius Clay winning the gold metal at the Rome Olympics.
Over my life the Olympics have become bigger, controversial, more inclusive, and more grandiose. Staging a modern Olympics has put more than one nation at the edge of bankruptcy.
There have always been things about TV’s coverage of the Olympics that have bothered me. If you enjoy a more obscure sport you’ll probably not find much attention given to it. That is such in my case since I’m especially fond of bicycle track racing.
So, if I were placed in charge of the Olympics here’s how I would change it.
- The opening ceremony would be cut in half and consist mostly of the parade of national teams.
- The closing ceremony would last no longer than half an hour.
- There would be just a few permanent Olympic venues and the games would rotate among those.
- The network that wins the rights to broadcast the games would provide total coverage of every sport using cable and satellite television plus live streaming via the Internet.
- There are far too many games that involve an individual or a group to somehow get a ball into, over, or through a net. Since soccer is the world’s favorite sport, only it would be permitted but American broadcasters would not be allowed to broadcast soccer games unless the US is in the finals.
- Nothing with the word synchronized would be permitted.
- Golf is out!
- Rhythmic Gymnastics will be relegated back to Chinese circuses.
- Archery would be returned to the technology of William Tell’s era.
- Wrestlers will face expulsion if they cry following losing.
- For the redneck NASCAR crowd, Dressage and those other fancy equestrian events would be replaced by a weight pull between Clydesdale horses and chariot racing.
- Finally, the track part of Track and Field will receive equal attention. Sports would be a far better thing if we had more women’s hammer throws.