So after five days of Olympics, I'm sick of Michael Phelps right abouuuuuuuut.....now. The coverage so far has been roughly 70% Phelps and 30% rest of the Games. The nadir was the relay team's win the other night, and in the midst of all the celebration, the announcers were all "Oh, Phelps' teammates are so happy to see him win!" Um, yeah, they're probably also happy for themselves. Jason Lezak's first thought when he hit the wall wasn't "Oh gosh, I hope I didn't let Michael down," but rather "YESSSS! I DID IT! I DID IT! U-S-A! U-S-A! THIS GOLD MEDAL IS GOING TO GET ME SO MUCH TANG BACK AT THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE! WHOO! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Anyway, nothing is so good it couldn't use an upgrade. So here's LISTAMANIA XII: Five sports that should be in the Olympics (to make room, cut equestrian....seriously, it's riding around on a fucking horse).
5. Cricket. Ok, so it'd be a four-horse race between India, Pakistan, England and Australia, but still, for a sport that's so popular worldwide, its lack of Olympic participation is a bit unusual. Maybe I'm just in a pro-cricket mood since I think I finally sort of get the basic understanding of the rules. I'm still not sure how a match can last five days, but hey, it's a start. I even know a famous cricketer --- Sir Donald Bradman. To call him the Wayne Gretzky of cricket would actually be too favorable a comparison for Gretzky. Apparently Bradman's records were so far and above any other cricketer than his equivalent in baseball would have to be a player with a .392 career average. And in Bradman's best days, he had about the equivalent of a .650 season. Good lord.
4. Rugby. Much the same logic as cricket. Everyone in New Zealand would be for it, that's for sure. For some reason, rugby seemed to be the one sport that every semi-athletic male tried to play at my high school. My buddy Trev even played a couple of seasons and ended up breaking his collarbone twice. Seems like a lot of pain just to get a cool shirt.
3. Mixed martial arts. It's hard to have a non-exhibition MMA tournament in a two-week span, but a four-man tournament in the six major weight classes (or seven classes, if they just want to hand Miguel Torres the gold in the opening ceremonies) with the opening fights happening on day two followed by the finals on day 13 would be pretty sweet. Obviously, loads of difficulties would present themselves --- would the fights be in a ring or a cage, what would the rules be, would UFC and the other major fight orgs sign off on risking their top guys to injury or (even worse) losing to a top guy in another org, etc. There's also the possibility of a guy winning his first round fight but suffering an injury and not being able to compete in the final. This happens all the time in Pride and Dream grand prix fighting events, and the semi-final loser steps in to face the other finalist and, just to mess things up even more, the semi-final loser then usually wins. Those kind of suck. But still, presuming some of these difficulties could be ironed out, wouldn't it be sweet to see the US, Brazil, Japan and one international wild card in each tournament (so, Canada gets GSP in welterweight, Russia gets Fedor in heavyweight, Norway gets Joachim Hansen in lightweight, etc.) battling it out?
2. Free running. Find some urban slum, remove all the homeless people, needles and broken crack vials from the sidewalks, and off you go. Line up the free runners at one point, tell them they have to get to point B and the first one there wins. How long would it take for parkour to get the highest TV ratings of any Olympic sport? One Games? Or two days?
1. Something Canada can win a damn medal in. Ooops, wait, that might be hard to come by. So let's go with.....
1. Golf. It blows my mind that golf isn't in the Olympics. I mean, isn't this something of a no-brainer? Arguably the most international of all sports isn't in the Olympic Games? Any city capable of hosting an Olympics surely has a nearby world-class golf club. Just take the top 20 in Ryder Cup/Solheim Cup points for both Americans and Europeans, then take the top 20 in international President's Cup/Lexus Cup points (plus maybe a couple of token entries from the host country if they're not already represented) and boom, there's your 60-man and 60-woman elite tournament. One gender has its tourney in the first weekend of the Games, the other gender has its tourney on the second weekend. Four days, bottom 20 or 30 are cut after the first two days, simple as that. If tennis can interrupt its season every four years to incorporate the Olympic tournament, surely golf can do the same.