How To Improve 12 Olympic Events

We’re hours away from the start of the 2012 Olympic Games. Billions of people will tune in to see their country’s best do battle for the gold. The problem is that apart from the next three weeks, no one really cares about these events. That’s why no one will watch unless there’s some sort of national interest or epic storyline. That’s why I think it’s time we rethink some Olympic events and bring them into the 21st century. So here are ways to improve 12 Olympic events.

#1 Equestrian
Near as I can tell Dressage is parading horses around like a dog show but it’s the jockeys, not the horses, who win the medals which doesn’t follow a dog show’s awards system. And Show Jumping looks like HGTV meets hurdles. So I say scrap them both and go biblical on this. Two horses and one rider in chariot race death matches for gold. A chariot race might be first to cross the line wins but for fun swords, spears, shields, and spiked wheels are all fair game.

#2 Swimming
We get it. Michael Phelps is a demi-god in a high-tech swimsuit. But how would he, and the rest of the world, fare against the most fearsome creatures of the sea? Load up the pool with 8 man-eating sharks and make each swimmer carry fish in their trunks. Hydrodynamic swimsuits that can outrun the competition won’t help you if you can’t out pace your shark.

#3 Decathlon
Decathletes are easily the best athletes in the world. They have to be skilled in 10 very different events in order to be remotely competitive. But make it ten events they’ve never seen before with American Gladiators meets the Olympics. Why not? After all, don’t the TV talking heads refer to the athletes as “gladiators?” There would be nine classic Gladiator events (Joust, Powerball, Atlasphere, Hang Tough, The Wall, Pyramid, Assault, Earthquake [the wrestling event], and Sky Track) finishing with The Eliminator. How would this year’s gold medalists handle a pugel stick in the side of the head? As an added bonus, this means more Gina Carano… If she isn’t too busy with her movie career.

#4 Fencing
Does anybody really think two people madly flailing at each other with pointer sticks is cool? Old-school fencing was interesting and exciting because it was dangerous. So let’s bring this one into the 21st century with lightsabers. This way we’ll have both the high-flying moves of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy lightsaber duels along with a definite way to tell if someone’s been hit besides a buzzer.

#5 Steeplechase
Steeplechase is basically hurdles with a puddle on the other side. To make it more interesting, fill the water traps with hungry crocodiles. Runners have to jump over or run through the traps or they’ll be thrown in by track-side officials. How’s your croc jumping?

#6 Soccer
All players who dive, or have to be taken off the pitch on a stretcher and return after less than two minutes, will be shot. This should be treated like a red card so the offending player can’t be substituted for and the team will play shorthanded for the rest of the game. If this doesn’t get rid of diving, then the next winner of the European Champions League will be Bromley.

#7 Basketball
I like basketball but it has spurts, especially in the last couple of minutes, where equestrian is more exciting. So release a live bear into the stadium at tip-off. No medals would have to be given to the winners. Their reward would be escaping that death trap with their lives. The crowd should be safe as long as they have a child to use as a shield. Bears love the tender meat.

#8 Javelin
Flaming javelins! Nothing particularly special or deadly with this one. Fire just makes everything look that much cooler. But if there were more javelin throwers that looked like Leryn Franco, I would be willing to settle for that too.

#9 Rhythmic Gymnastics
This is the under-appreciated gymnastics and it’s easy to see why. Rhythmic gymnastics looks like a bunch of folk prancing about in leotards while twirling a piece of string in the air. Since they’re tossing stuff in the air, they may as well make it fun. Add a juggling element using swords, watermelons, something on fire, or, my favorite, chainsaws. Losing a hand is an eight-tenths deduction.

#10 Weightlifting
The only time people notice weightlifting is when someone has a bowel movement in the middle of their lift. Weightlifting is only really worth watching when you’re watching those World’s Strongest Man competitions when they throw kegs over the wall or pull a fire truck down the road. Maybe we should just replace the Snatch and Clean & Jerk with the Atlas Stones and Truck Pull. Mind you, those names make for easy jokes.

#11 Canoeing
Rowing definitely isn’t the worst Olympic sport but the only time anyone cares about it is during the two weeks of the Olympics. How can we broaden the appeal of the sport? With giant jet engines firing off the back of the boats. There’s something about a fire-spitting engine that makes everything look cool. While jet-powered canoeing wouldn’t really be a sport, it wouldn’t be any less of a sport than equestrian seeing as the horse does all the work. That and it would be a challenge not to crash the boat.

#12 Wrestling
Another sport with men in spandex leotards but this time with large amounts of clutching, grabbing, holding, pulling, and cuddling. Let’s just give Vince McMahon (or whoever’s in charge of the WWE in the latest storyline) the run of the show and bring professional wrestling into the fold with all the other professional athletes at the Olympics. After all, The Rock vs. Stone Cold for the gold medal is a lot more watchable than an anonymous Romanian against an anonymous Korean. Of course, the gold medal match would have to be a Hell in a Cell match.


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