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BuckyBadger

Olympic Sports vs Olympic “Sports”

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Over the last 4-5 cycles, the Olympics have changed a lot and I’m afraid are becoming something unrecognizable. Each cycle the IOC has added more and more competitions that I don’t think even qualify as a sport. Or they have added sports that have such a niche or small pool of competitors that you really have to question whether winning an Olympic medal has the same level of achievement/significance as some of the more traditional sports.

There are 42 sports at the Tokyo games. A couple of examples of what I’m talking about.

Nonsports: Archery, Shooting, Equestrian, Skateboarding

With the exception of skateboarding some of the medalists are in their 40s and competitors have been in their 50s. Many are overweight and don't look like they could run a mile without stopping. 

Niche or only available to those that can afford it: Canoe/Kayak, Sailing, Surfing, Sport Climbing, Trampoline, Rythmic gymnastics, Synchronized Swimming

The Olympics used to be about basic athletic skills like running, jumping, strength etc. 

These might require athletic qualities but do they really belong in the Olympics?

Variations of existing sports: 3 on 3 basketball, beach volleyball

Why include more basketball or volleyball? Just an attempt to get more TV revenue.

There are others that are more debatable (Karate, Taekwondo, etc) but my main point is the Olympics are moving beyond sports competitions all while slowly killing off wrestling.

There is still enough top level competition in the traditional sports that I still enjoy the games but I’m not sure what they will look like in another 3-4 cycles.

 


 

 

Edited by BuckyBadger

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9 minutes ago, jchapman said:

How about “sports” where the scoring is based on judging the performance, rather than competing directly against other competitors?

Gymnastics, the aforementioned skateboarding, etc

True, there is a subjective component to some sports that inevitably lead to controversy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they shouldn’t be in the Olympics. For example, gymnastics is a serious sport and clearly belongs. 

However skateboarding is a joke and belongs in the X games. At least BMX racing is gone now.

Edited by BuckyBadger

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1 hour ago, BuckyBadger said:

Over the last 4-5 cycles, the Olympics have changed a lot and I’m afraid are becoming something unrecognizable. Each cycle the IOC has added more and more competitions that I don’t think even qualify as a sport. Or they have added sports that have such a niche or small pool of competitors that you really have to question whether winning an Olympic medal has the same level of achievement/significance as some of the more traditional sports.

There are 42 sports at the Tokyo games. A couple of examples of what I’m talking about.

Nonsports: Archery, Shooting, Equestrian, Skateboarding

With the exception of skateboarding some of the medalists are in their 40s and competitors have been in their 50s. Many are overweight and don't look like they could run a mile without stopping. 

Niche or only available to those that can afford it: Canoe/Kayak, Sailing, Surfing, Sport Climbing, Trampoline, Rythmic gymnastics, Synchronized Swimming

The Olympics used to be about basic athletic skills like running, jumping, strength etc. 

These might require athletic qualities but do they really belong in the Olympics?

Variations of existing sports: 3 on 3 basketball, beach volleyball

Why include more basketball or volleyball? Just an attempt to get more TV revenue.

There are others that are more debatable (Karate, Taekwondo, etc) but my main point is the Olympics are moving beyond sports competitions all while slowly killing off wrestling.

There is still enough top level competition in the traditional sports that I still enjoy the games but I’m not sure what they will look like in another 3-4 cycles.

 


 

 

Why is the ability to run a mile without stopping a criterion for being a "sport"?  Shotput, discus, and javelin are as old as the original Olympics, but pretty sure that running a mile non-stop isn't required for these events.  Should they be dropped, too?  How does fencing fit into your qualifications?

And what's with these weight classes in wrestling?  Pretty sure (<checks notes>) that swimming and track & field are "beat everyone" and don't care if someone is bigger than you.

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Ben Askren had interesting take on this as a former Olympian. Instead of wanting to reform the Olympic, his dream is for Wrestling to get big enough one day to be independent of the olympics. 

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1 hour ago, klehner said:

Why is the ability to run a mile without stopping a criterion for being a "sport"?  Shotput, discus, and javelin are as old as the original Olympics, but pretty sure that running a mile non-stop isn't required for these events.  Should they be dropped, too?  How does fencing fit into your qualifications?

And what's with these weight classes in wrestling?  Pretty sure (<checks notes>) that swimming and track & field are "beat everyone" and don't care if someone is bigger than you.

Ability to run a mile without stopping is not  the criteria for a sport. Shotput/Discuss/Javelin are good counter examples. 

The point I was trying to make is “sports” like shooting or archery are closer to throwing darts or bowling than Javelin/Discuss etc.

They require skill and practice. But I don't consider them sports.

Edited by BuckyBadger

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Just now, BuckyBadger said:

Ability to run a mile without stopping is not  the criteria for a sport. Shotput/Discuss/Javelin are good counter examples. 

The point I was trying to make is “sports” like shooting or archery are closer to throwing darts or bowling than Javelin/Discuss etc.

sports like shooting and archery are real world skills that made a difference to people's lives back when the idea of the olympics was first created and as such are very much in the spirit of the olympics...

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3 hours ago, BuckyBadger said:

 

Variations of existing sports: 3 on 3 basketball, beach volleyball

Why include more basketball or volleyball? Just an attempt to get more TV revenue.

 

 


 

 

Do you really think that beach volleyball is related to TV revenue? It is only included to show that women can be athletic, very athletic while wearing a nice uniform.

 

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1 hour ago, klehner said:

Why is the ability to run a mile without stopping a criterion for being a "sport"?  Shotput, discus, and javelin are as old as the original Olympics, but pretty sure that running a mile non-stop isn't required for these events.  Should they be dropped, too?  How does fencing fit into your qualifications?

And what's with these weight classes in wrestling?  Pretty sure (<checks notes>) that swimming and track & field are "beat everyone" and don't care if someone is bigger than you.

To answer some of your other questions, Fencing clearly requires endurance, skill, speed and other athletic qualities. It is definitely a sport. But I would say it’s a sport that is really only available to those with a lot of money. Who is going to be able to afford all that equipment, not to mention the cost of lessons? 

I’d argue that the pool of competitive fencers in the world is in the hundreds, maybe thousands. Winning a medal is not the same as track and field where there are millions of people competing.
 

Your examples of swimming and track and field actually have so many different events I can’t even keep track. The athletes there are very much specialists (sprinter, middle distance, long distance etc). Wrestling is simply weight class, no other distinction. SwimmingTrack are actually much more segmented by different criteria than wrestling.

Edited by BuckyBadger

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1 minute ago, DanGerMan said:

Do you really think that beach volleyball is related to TV revenue? It is only included to show that women can be athletic, very athletic while wearing a nice uniform.

 

Isn’t that all about more TV revenue?

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I would like to think that we are all experienced enough to understand that the Olympics are now just a shell event to make money for the TV networks. If money weren't involved, Olympic results would be relegated to a three inch article in the second page of the newspaper sports section. There are better minds than mine at work trying to figure out the best combination of sports for inclusion and presentation on TV. They do an incredible job at marketing (I mean, how many of you would otherwise tune in for synchronized diving?). but it is ALL ABOUT MONEY now - it is not about the actual sports. Whatever mix brings in the most viewers is what is going to be included in the Olympics - period.

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9 minutes ago, npope said:

I would like to think that we are all experienced enough to understand that the Olympics are now just a shell event to make money for the TV networks. If money weren't involved, Olympic results would be relegated to a three inch article in the second page of the newspaper sports section. There are better minds than mine at work trying to figure out the best combination of sports for inclusion and presentation on TV. They do an incredible job at marketing (I mean, how many of you would otherwise tune in for synchronized diving?). but it is ALL ABOUT MONEY now - it is not about the actual sports. Whatever mix brings in the most viewers is what is going to be included in the Olympics - period.

i don't disagree with any of this, but, we all still need to realize that the olympic dream for athletes still exits and just because a few old guys don't get what skateboarding has to do with sporting prowess means absolutely fuk all...

these athletes devote their lives to the biggest event this planet puts on every 4 years...

it is still a big deal...

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1 hour ago, DanGerMan said:

Do you really think that beach volleyball is related to TV revenue? It is only included to show that women can be athletic, very athletic while wearing a nice uniform.

 

Beach volleyball, especially women’s, always is worth a look.

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1 hour ago, LJB said:

i don't disagree with any of this, but, we all still need to realize that the olympic dream for athletes still exits and just because a few old guys don't get what skateboarding has to do with sporting prowess means absolutely fuk all...

these athletes devote their lives to the biggest event this planet puts on every 4 years...

it is still a big deal...

Yes and no, but I do agree with most of what you say here.

It boils down to the Olympics marketing themselves as the premier athletic event in the world, based on ancient Greek legacy, according to a Frenchman back in 1894.

Dhort story, but the Olympic Games weren't fully commercialized until (no surprise here) the 1984 Games on American soil, where television and advertising revenues were unrivaled across the globe. Former MLB Commissioner Peter Uebberoth changed that relationship between sponsors and the Games.

Two cycles later, in 1992, when basketball was exploding in popularity domestically and internationally, the US started sending professional athletes (men's bball, namely) to the Games. The Games then became "legitimate" to a lot of people, specifically the American viewership, where most of that ad revenue was targeted. Enter Reebok, Adidas, Nike, and others on the scale we have all become accustomed to being forced down our throats.

Seeing "The Dream Team", athletes began to really ramp up sponsorship opportunities with large corporations, and the big winners were financing their training thanks to such sponsors, as well as becoming household names.

That said, the athletes don't compete harder in the Olympic years than they do in the three years in between. The sport is the sport; a world gold and an Olympic gold are the same to most... unless there is money on the line. (Fuel the Dream Fund?)

Wrestling, as a sport, is notoriously slow with getting on board with this. I don't know exactly why that is, but it is. I like Askren talking about separating the sport from the Olympics, but the brain trust in the sport hasn't found a way to do that. I don't want to be a fatalist, but I don't see it ever happening. Wrestling will always need the marketing behemoth that is The Olympic Games.

As to what other people think about what should and should not be in the Games, who cares? They have to be sustainable beyond my years here. Keeping up with trends is smart business, which is what the IOC is, ultimately. The athletes in those newer sports work their tails off just like our wrestlers do. I'm confident in saying I can't do what they can do, but I am happy to watch them do the things they love to do most.

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2 minutes ago, Tofurky said:

Yes and no, but I do agree with most of what you say here.

It boils down to the Olympics marketing themselves as the premier athletic event in the world, based on ancient Greek legacy, according to a Frenchman back in 1894.

Dhort story, but the Olympic Games weren't fully commercialized until (no surprise here) the 1984 Games on American soil, where television and advertising revenues were unrivaled across the globe. Former MLB Commissioner Peter Uebberoth changed that relationship between sponsors and the Games.

Two cycles later, in 1992, when basketball was exploding in popularity domestically and internationally, the US started sending professional athletes (men's bball, namely) to the Games. The Games then became "legitimate" to a lot of people, specifically the American viewership, where most of that ad revenue was targeted. Enter Reebok, Adidas, Nike, and others on the scale we have all become accustomed to being forced down our throats.

Seeing "The Dream Team", athletes began to really ramp up sponsorship opportunities with large corporations, and the big winners were financing their training thanks to such sponsors, as well as becoming household names.

That said, the athletes don't compete harder in the Olympic years than they do in the three years in between. The sport is the sport; a world gold and an Olympic gold are the same to most... unless there is money on the line. (Fuel the Dream Fund?)

Wrestling, as a sport, is notoriously slow with getting on board with this. I don't know exactly why that is, but it is. I like Askren talking about separating the sport from the Olympics, but the brain trust in the sport hasn't found a way to do that. I don't want to be a fatalist, but I don't see it ever happening. Wrestling will always need the marketing behemoth that is The Olympic Games.

As to what other people think about what should and should not be in the Games, who cares? They have to be sustainable beyond my years here. Keeping up with trends is smart business, which is what the IOC is, ultimately. The athletes in those newer sports work their tails off just like our wrestlers do. I'm confident in saying I can't do what they can do, but I am happy to watch them do the things they love to do most.

I'm not sure what your definition of full commercialization is, but I remember McDonald's being a big sponsor of the 76 games. They ran meal promotions around it too. You got a game piece with an event. If the US won gold you got a burger, silver was a drink and brinze was fries. A sweep meant a whole meal. I am pretty sure the Olympics have been commercialized well before 84.

As for professional athletes, that was a direct response to Russian hkckey and basketball teams manned by soldiers in name, but athletes by profession. And the US didn't just start sending professionals. The IOC changed their rules to permit it. Yes, due to US lobbying, but an often antagonistic international body had to allow it first. Michael Jordan's availability probably didnt hurt the timing of the decision either.

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