Look at the lyrics to Elvis Costello’s Watching The Detectives. Start by changing the word ‘detectives’ to ‘olympics.’ You don’t have to change a whole lot else. It’s just waiting to be picked by Weird Al Yankovic for his next song parody…
We’re sitting here watching the Mens’ Scynchronized Cannonball (Platform Diving) and wondering how far they can go to dream up more made-for-TV sports to take attention away from the real sports taking place.
First of all, in my opinion, if it can’t be measured by time, distance, or points (i.e. real points caused by something physical like a ball or person crossing a line, not a judge’s impression.) it isn’t a sport. It might be art, it might be a dance, but it’s not a sport.
How can you compare a performance from one year to the next unless it can be measured? Can you have a ‘world record’ in gymnastics? No, because it’s judged subjectively. A foot race, a pole vault, a basketball game, etc. can be because you can measure them in some way.
So we’re watching some synchro-diving and the commentator is picking the U.S. team apart based on something noone else can even see. Actually, she was picking every team apart pretty badly. It seems like they are judged more on how much they splash when they hit the water than by the difficulty of the dive. Get a life! Guess what, water splashes…
So, I’m sitting watching this, totally bored by it and my mind starts to wander. What if…
What if the Russian coach was caught pouring some secret polymer into the water that dispersed across the surface and suppressed all splashing, then degraded in 30 seconds leaving splashy water again?
What if the Chinese team came out and got perfect 10’s every time, no matter what dives they executed?
What if the German team was disqualified when it was discovered their athletes were genetically-bred to have a skin surface that didn’t have any friction with the water and made less of a splash?
What if the American team came out with high-tech, custom designed-in-wind-tunnels, cone-shaped swim helmets and glided into the water without a wake?
Silly? Yes, but no more so than the arbitrary and totally made-up for the Olympics sport in the first place.