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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Which sport should be axed from the Olympics?
Are you baffled by beach volleyball, confused by kayaking or simply depressed by the dressage?
Which sport would you consign to the Olympic dustbin?
But after the novelty of watching "minority sports" like synchronised diving and clay pigeon shooting, are you starting to flag?
If you're not careful the Olympics can start to take over your life. Perhaps you have developed an unhealthy nocturnal addiction to handball and are desperate to kick the habit?
But maybe you think more "mainstream" events, such as tennis and football, have no place in a Games that should have a strictly amateur ethos?
Or who knows - but whisper it quietly - perhaps you think it is the triple jump that should go? Is the "hop, step and jump" just too weird to be included in the modern Olympics?
I enjoy the Olympics, but I don't see why we have to put up with baseball and basketball. They are not sports that show speed and endurance like the track and field sports.
I think that to dump any sport just because the person competing relies on a piece of equipment to perform is outrageous. Equestrian without the horse, tennis/badminton without the rackets, javelin or hammer without the hammer, sailing without the boat, swimming without the pool or shooting without the gun it is pathetic. The Olympics shows man's skill at manipulating factors to perform the best and that cannot be achieved with bare hands alone, racing car drivers need a car so is that not a sport because the driver is relying on the skill of his technicians and car to win?
Olympics is about human endurance and courage, so where does show jumping fit in? How many Third World countries have any chance of winning or even taking part in the show jumping or Dressage event? Surely this is a middle class sport that has no place in the Olympics.
Dinesh Shah, England
I think that tennis and football should be taken out of the Olympic games. The Olympic gold should be the ultimate acheivement and not be treated the same as a tournament that happens every week. Football and tennis should have their best people competing, or not at all.
Surely the great thing about the Olympic Games is the diversity of the sports included and the whole mix of skills and dedication of those who compete? Why synchronised swimming gets such a bad press I don't know, the little bit I saw was quite breathtaking. The more sport included, the more there is to encourage and inspire the young, and not so young, to have a go.
Many comments from the UK show they want to exclude baseball and basketball, probably because they're not very good at them. We do not ask for handball to be removed yet it is not a popular US sport.
I don't think that people should have views about sports they know anything about! Take dressage for instance, people always say it is boring but how do they know when they don't have the faintest idea what the are talking about. I think all sport is good and should be encouraged. Reprisenting their country is the greatest thing a person could possibly achieve and it doesn't matter in what sport and whether they win or lose!!
Jenny Pickles, England
Surely the primary test for any sport to be included in the Olympics is whether it is the pinacle of achivement in that sport? Clearly in swimming, athletics or rowing the top accolade is an Olympic gold. The same cannot be of a sport such as baseball or tennis, where many of the world's best cannot even bother to turn up.
It has to be walking. The Olympic motto is something like "Higher, further, faster", if you want to go faster than walking, you run! Also, it is a sport that relies totally on subjective judging, as was demonstrated by the sad Australian lady who was disqualified as she entered the stadium in the lead. I expect that if you looked closely enough and long enough at all the walking athletes there would be grounds to disqualify them all.
I admit that some of the events mystify me, but I want all of them to remain. It's a chance to see something other than grown men chasing a little ball around. But darts?
Why leave out baseball and softball? The entire Western Hemisphere plays baseball, as do most of Asia and Australia. The sport is also gaining acceptance in Europe with the Netherlands fielding quite a quality team this Olympics. The British do not understand that the world does enjoy the sport and the countries that do play have chosen to do so at their own freewill.
Although I don't like the synchronised swimming or rhythmic gymnastics, I accept that some people do, so I wouldn't eliminate them just because I don't have a personal liking for them. What I would eliminate is the farce of another purely professional tennis tournament. Seeing the Williams sisters play yet again against the same opponents they met at Wimbledon and the US Open is totally pointless. Such competitors as Rulon Gardner in the Greco-Roman Wrestling or Eric Moussambani in the swimming are what the Olympics should all be about, not a parade of overpaid, professional "sports" men and women trying to gain bragging rights over each other. Professional athletes in all disciplines have their own forum and no-one disputes that they are probably the best in their fields so move over and give the true amateur their day too!
Why do people have a problem with baseball as an Olympic sport? The Olympics provide the only major venue for international play in baseball, so the spirit of the games are served, unlike with football. Baseball is also a sport adored in dozens of countries in the Americas and Asia with a population of hundreds of millions of people. There are plenty of Olympic sports that are not popular (widespread) anywhere- Beach Volleyball, Canoeing, Kayaking, Fencing, synchronised anything. Do you know they give out close to 50 shooting medals and only three baseball medals? There are about a dozen professional baseball leagues in the world that have large fan bases, how many pro shooting leagues are there?
I believe a return to only individual human v human contests. And let's reduce the number of swimming and running distances.
My opinion is that all sports, including "minority sports," should be included. The Games must not pander to viewership and sponsorhip. It's a chance to see the world's best. We have a single opportunity every four years to see sports not regularly publicised. The IOC should stand firm behind their rules are to what sports qualify (based on the number of country teams that are signatories to an IOC petition. In my mind, why not see rugby, wushu, even mongolian horseback riding. It's all physical -- top athletic performance is human art, regardless of the package.
Dressage should go. Only nine countries competed. That is not a global sport.
As has already benn pointed out the Olympics were originally a martial competition, those that were faster, higher, stronger were the soldiers that would be most valuable in combat. Shot putt, discuss, javelin, equestrain events, archery, shooting, pole vault and many others are, whether we like it or not, martial arts and I would say that it is these events that truly capture the reasoning behind the founding of the Olympics in Ancient Greece.
The many excellent comments point to the cutting of heavily professional sports such as football, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis. I agree. But, also cut those that are merely "pretty"; team diving, synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and beach volleyball. Also, deliver us from the faddish sports like snowboarding and mountain bike races.
Best of all, as someone already said, add one/cut one. Can we find a way to get back to an Olympics for amateurs? At least they cannot afford the exotic drugs the pros use. And the many small countries may find it possible to compete fairly.
I think that tennis and football should be excluded. This is because in both sports the Olympics are not the top competition and obviously most competitors feel that way too. In football the World Cup and European championships are more important and in tennis the Grand Slams are of more importance. That means that the gold medal is not won by the best team or players in the world. The best teams or players don't care whether they are there or not and that shouldn't be accepted at the Olympic Games plus the Olympic Games are for amateur athletes, in my opinion. On the other hand, I think that sports such as netball and squash should be included.
Claire Wall, England
Even though us Yanks are likely to win both the baseball and softball, I would axe both those sports as not enough nations play either game. Football should also be out as the World Cup is the real test in that sport. I would get rid of tennis as well; four major tournaments in different countries as well as the Davis Cup seem like more than enough to determine the world's best. I wholeheartedly endorse the idea that for each new sport, an existing one has to be dropped - that way, perhaps, some thought would be given to whether the world really needs meaningless medals in trampoline or synchronised diving.
All the American "sports", before it's too late and we're forced to endure Gladiators as an Olympic discipline. No one else in the world is really interested in softball or baseball and they definitely bear no relation to the spirit or intent of the ancient or modern games. It's all just a cheap gimmick to attract the US armchair viewer who is only interested if his team is winning.
I'd dump tennis and replace it with some kind of fighting sport such as karate or Thai boxing.
Dr. S, UK
I agree that we cannot go on adding more sports indefinitely. In my view the Olympic Games are for individual competition in a 'physical' activity. I would remove all team sports, all 'skill only' sports such as shooting and any sports that depend heavily on the equipment (e.g.sailing) or on animals (all equestrian events)
Le'ts get back to the Olympic ideal instead of pandering to commercial interests. Also introduce a rule that no new sport can be added without another being dropped.
Either rhythmic gymnastics or synchronised swimming are the two worst sports that I would get rid of.
But Ideally I would like to get rid of all of the "sports" which are subjective! Possibly put them in a separate Olympics called the "Subjective Olympics".
These would include also: ice skating, dancing, pairs & figure, gymnastics, diving and dressage which all depend on the subjective opinion of a panel of judges.
Sport is Sport...one must honour the will and determination of all athletes. Trying to win gold in any category means giving up most things like social life, education, entertainment and othe things most uf us take for granted. Add cricket...Howzat!
Jamal Sadick, Switzerland
Some of your contributors seem to be saying Darts should be introduced to the Olympics. Are they nuts? Can you imagine Jocky Wilson on the podium stepping up to collect his Gold?
Volleyball for pairs is perfectly justifiable but why 'Beach' Volleyball? Whatever next? Basketball on ice? The 100m sprint over pebbles?
Enough of this 'Oh, it's actually very demanding, and they train very hard and they are very skilful' kind of arguement to justify the inclusion of synchronised swimming and beach volleyball. Why not frisbee throwing, bowling, bodybuilding or computer games as Olympic sports? All those medals given out cheapen the value of a real Olympic Gold medal. The Olympics should be about pure athletic endevour, and that means athletics, weightlifting (whoever is strongest and lifts the most, regardless of bodyweight, after all, they don't have a 220-pound weight categary in the 10,000m to see who is the best long distance runner, 'pound-for-pound'), swimming (the fastest stroke), and unarmed combat. That's it. No horses, no rackets, no balls, no rifles, no bows and arrows. Just 'faster, higher, stronger'.
I would dump any sport that requires music or judges (not referees). Stronger, higher, faster is the olympic motto and the sports should all be measurable by a standard unit.
I think there should be an A list ofsay 15 sports that MUST be in every Olympics followed by a B list of another 15 which each organising comittee can choose a minium of 5 and a maximum of 10 - this would mean that at least we would get some variety in the sports covered in each olympics
Mark evans, Wales, UK
Dump the entire fiasco! Professionalism, commercialism and widespread doping have killed the Olympic spirit altogether.
The outcome of a true sport must be objective and not subjective.Therefore, I don't think a Gymnastics, diving are true sports. Given a different set of judges for such events, the outcome will often be different. Also there shouldn't be variations of a sport over any length of the course.There should only be one 100m swimming event and a swimmer should pick whatever swimming style he or she prefers.
I would also suggest that the word "sharpest" be included in the olympic motto of "longest, fastest and strongest" since none of these three describe the objectives in sports like shooting, archery and fencing.
I think Beach Volleyball should be scrapped after all we already have standard Volleyball. What happens if the Olympics are staged in Iceland? Also sports which depend on subjective judgement should be reduced as they do not fit the Olympic motto of 'Strongest, Fastest, Highest' and ironically seem to produce the most medals.
I would like to see them get rid of weight lifting, basketball, soccer, shooting. I think that's enough.
To me the essence of the Olympics is racing. OK, I watch the boxing, judo, gymnastics etc, but nothing compares with man competing against man in a racing situation - first past the post. But I disagree with artificially restricting the competitor's speed by controlling his technique. Make the race longer, put obstacles in his way, but don't limit his speed. So I'd ditch the walking and all the various swimming strokes. After all, if we translate butterfly, breaststroke etc to the track, we'd end up with the 100m-with-one-arm-tied-behind-your-back and the 400m-with-both-hands-in-the-air!
Any events where there are professional sports men and women competing in them should be removed from the Olympics. It goes against the whole Olympic spirit to have them participating. They have their own competitions to take part in.
For all the jibes synchro swimming is technically and physically demanding and should be allowed to stay. Personally I can not stand it, but that does not mean it is not worthy of inclusion.
Synchronised diving..come on! Ok, if you can pull off a quality dive, fair enough..very impressive...but being able to dive at the same time as someone else...Is that really such a big deal?
Being aware of the dubious reputation that beach volleyball enjoys in this country, I was somewhat unsure of what would greet me when I acquired some tickets for this event when I was in Sydney. I shouldn't have worried because the standard of sportsmanship, the level of demand and the spectator support was equal to any that I have seen since. In my opinion, beach volleyball should stay!
The sports included within the Olympic games reflect the contemporary bias of today's society and therefore all are arguably valid, just as those of ancient Greece reflected the combative nature of the period. As for the discussion concerning the maintenance of "True Olympic Spirit", what is this and has there ever been such a thing? Unfortunately I think not. The games of ancient Olympus were renowned for their violence, debauchery, conmen and pickpockets, with huge public approval lauded upon those who could cheat their opponents into second place. Cunning and guile being viewed as admirable traits within the competitors. "Doping" of that time included eating sheep's testicles as a source of testosterone. The sports included within the games should and will always change as society evolves. "Olympic spirit" however may never be present, remaining an invention of the marketing machine.
The Olympics are about sport, whatever shape or form.
The event to be dumped should surely be the " artistic " opening ceremony.
Parade the teams, swear the oaths and light the flame but please spare us hours of the
ever present stilt walkers, history of the host nation and arty based trivia.
If we want drama we go to the theatre.
If we want history we go to a library.
If we want art we go to an art centre.
Save the money spent on this out of context display and promote more sports of whatever
Can I be controversial and suggest we rationalise the number of medals in gymnastics. It seems unfair to sports like the heptathalon and decathalon, where you do 7 or 10 events for a single medal, for a gymnast to be able to get medals for the team all round event, the individual all round event and all of the individual events as well.
I would exclude weightlifting from future Olympics. As far as I can see it is not so much a sport as a test of who can best disguise the use of performance enhancing drugs. If the IOC is ever likely to achieve its wish to rid drugs from sport surely weightlifting must go.
Matt H, UK
All sports that take years and years of training, that show the real sportsmen inside should be included in the games. Triple Jump, Clay Pigeon Shooting and Synchronised swimming that you focus on above are all sports in which the athlete involved has to train day in, day out to reach the pinnacle of their sport. Keep them all.
I think that having football in the games is a farce, when the sport has it's own competition which is almost as big as the Olympics itself. Restricting the age of the players, if anything makes it worse, as it means the best teams in the world do not win the medals.
I also think that all sports in which judges allocate all of the points should be removed, as there are too many opportunities for politics to come into the choice of winner.
It amazes me that so many American dominated professional team sports are now included in the games (Basketball, Baseball etc). Is this a reflection of the political powerbase that dominates the IOC? Surely the inclusion of "old world" sports such as Cricket, Squash and Rugby (perhaps sevens) would give third world nations the opportunity to compete more competitively and create a games which is more representative of global sporting interest.
If the Olympic gold is not the top achievement in a sport, then it should be dropped. For example, would a footballing nation prefer the World Cup or a gold medal? Similar arguments probably apply to basketball and tennis. I think we could also question beach volleyball - how will a landlocked country ever get the games if they need to stage this!
Karl Wilding, UK
Football is too professional now for the Olympics and should therefore be removed from it. When you look at the few famous names in the tennis, you can see that this sport too is not given the respect that the Olympics deserve. The same way that dispelling drug use brings all athletes to the same human level, dispelling professional sports brings all athletes to the same amateur level. It's the grit and determination of those that compete for the sheer love of it that makes the Olympics the most captivating competition in the world!
The rich tapestry of events & athletes on display that we very rarely get the opportunity to see - should all be appreciated. I think we should continue to add to the repertoire - and not dump any.
I think that sports such as beach volleyball, equestrian events, football tournaments, hockey tournaments and tennis tournaments (to name but a few) should be axed from the Olympics. My reason for this is that they are not in keeping with the concept of 'Olympic'. Next thing you know we will be having to watch golf being passed off as an 'Olympic' sport! It is difficult deciding where to draw the line, but in my opinion the line has been extended far beyond what is reasonable.
Personally I don't think it really matters whether we like or dislike a particular sport. To the people who compete in them it is their chance to promote their sport and hopefully bring back a medal for their country. I say lets have more sports.
Gary Hardcastle, UK
The problem lies not with there being too many different sports, but with some of them having too many disciplines. For instance, it is a lot easier for a swimmer or cyclist to win several different medals than a shot putter. It is often these seemingly endless variations of simple sports, which turn people away from enjoying them. Just as they think they are getting to know an event another variation crops up.
Our class of 9/10-year-olds have been keeping track of the Olympics on the web and after a class vote most wanted to get rid of the Synchronised Swimming.
Anything equestrian; if you are relying on the skill of an animal, then that animal is the medallist, not the rider.
Any sport where the outcome is dependent on the subjective opinion of judges should not be included. By this I mean sports such as synchronised swimming and diving, dressage, gymnastics etc. This would also include a number of ice-dance events that occur at winter Olympics. I object to these events on two grounds, firstly because it is so dependent upon the opinion of faceless officials who have, in effect, carte blanche to do as they wish. And secondly because these events always result in political voting which is even commented upon by sports commentators who note that some nations are more or less to generous to competitors from different countries on a routine basis. I enjoy watching many of these sports very much, but I find it hard to justify how many of these sports can select an absolute best when the assessment of performances is so subjective.
Grace, United Kingdom
I would dump softball and baseball. I mean who plays these sports seriously.
Surely there are only 3 or maybe 4 countries at the most where baseball is played to a high level.
If these sports can be in the Olympics then surely rugby union has to be
I remember hearing that the rugby world cup was the 3rd largest sporting event behind the Olympics and the football world cup.
I do not think that any sports should be dumped as to the competitors they are just as important as the big events. Personally I would like to see more "minor" sports in the Games as it is probably the only chance I get to see and enjoy them. Why not include skateboarding, darts, pool, snooker, and any other sport that people can compete in. As they are just as important as the "BIG" and sometimes boring sports such as running round a track.
Ping pong should be ousted without doubt. It is neither a good spectator sport or TV sport. Darts is far more suitable.
I firmly believe that squash should be in the Olympic Games while tennis seems out of place with pros competing.
Murray, Scotland, UK
Sports should not be allowed when it is blatently obvious that the highly paid competitors regard the Olympics as nothing more than one other date in their busy calendar. These events (tennis, football, basketball) should therefore be scrapped as soon as possible if the true Olympic spirit is to be kept.
I feel that any sport, such as diving, gymnastics, ballroom dancing etc. that has to be judged and not based on fastest, highest longest etc. should be excluded (and I say that as a coach in one such sport that gets enormous coverage during the Olympics and very little at other times - but that is because in world terms we have no chance of medals).
The bewildering array of sports on offer is truly impressive. With the introduction of many 'modern sports', maybe the IOC should consider stopping some of the older tradtional sports as these have less of an impact. The Games have come singing and dancing into the 21st century with its use of communications and coverage but many of the sports still come from the 19th century. Time for a change ?
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