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  Monday, 26 August, 2002, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
What next for the Olympics?

The Olympic Games began as a celebration of physical perfection and athletic excellence.

But these days the greatest sporting occasion on earth borders on a farce as more and more sports are invited to participate at the Games.

Golf, the martial art of wushu and rugby sevens are the latest to be under consideration for an invite when the 2008 Olympics take place in Beijing.

Beach volleyball, taekwondo and softball have all joined the Olympic programme in recent years.

Is there no end to the sports the International Olympic Committee see as worthy of a place in the Games?

BBC Sport Online decided to find out what other sports on the IOC's recognised list could be coming to an Olympic Games near you in the future.

We discovered that, short of badger-baiting, pie-eating and rugby league, there are not many sports that aren't on their list.

Here are some of the possibilities:

Aeronautics

David Gower before his Tiger Moth stunt
Gower could be going for gold soon
Powered aerobatics, handgliding and ballooning are just three of the disciplines that form part of the World Air Sports Federation.

Richard Branson may fancy his chances in the ballooning section, while David Gower could even be talked out of retirement to compete for a medal in his Tiger Moth.


Bandy

It's not a funny-walk competition, but a game played mostly in Scandinavia on a large field of ice roughly the size of a football pitch.

The players wear pads and aim to score into goals at either end of the field by hitting an object with sticks.

It sounds very similar to ice hockey, but with a much dafter name.


Billiards sports

Former snooker world champion Alex Higgins
Higgins was the ultimate athlete

Snooker players may not quite match up to the ancient Greek ideals of bodily perfection and athletic excellence.

But the whole of Britain should be campaigning for snooker to be introduced to the Olympics.

With the top players in the world nearly all hailing from Britain we would surely score a rare clean sweep of the medals.


Life saving

When you think of life saving you probably do not instantly think of sport. You probably think of Pamela Anderson dancing around half-naked on Baywatch.

But it is a fully recognised sport with its own federation and organised competitions.

However, it is dominated by Australians so we should rule that one out straight away.


Tug of war

Tug of war competitors in action
Is it time tug of war was brought back?
Tug of war is widely considered the ultimate test of sheer strength, team unity and the grips on your shoes.

Once a regular part of the Olympic programme during the early 20th century, tug of war last appeared in 1920 when Britain won gold.

The return of the sport to the Olympics could create a new wave of tug of war enthusiasts, and possibly lead to an influx of more schoolyard favourites like British bulldog and hopscotch.


Underwater hockey

Underwater sport has not had much of a look in at the Olympic Games in recent years.

But is it time underwater hockey and its popular cousins underwater rugby and underwater target shooting are given the chance they deserve?

See also:

26 Aug 02 | Sports Talk
26 Aug 02 | Golf
24 Aug 02 | Funny Old Game
23 Aug 02 | Funny Old Game
23 Aug 02 | Funny Old Game
21 Aug 02 | Funny Old Game
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