2012 London Olympics: Five Former Olympic Events that Need to be Resurrected

By Steve Palumbo

The 2012 London Olympics have finally begun. For me the Olympic games has always symbolized one of those events that traditional and non-traditional sports fans can rally around. Having a sense of national pride is good for the soul. Rooting for our persepctive countries helps stoke a competitive fire that, although smoldering in most of us, still burns white hot when the time is right.

I personally love the Olympics with all its pageantry and personal drama. I can’t get enough of it, even if it means watching fencing at 2 am.  I’m such an Olympic super fan that I long for the return of several events that were once mainstays in the Olympics, but for one reason or another were discontinued and dropped for good. There are just certain sports that ooze summer fun, but in some cases the International Olympic Committee clearly disagrees with me.

This years Olympics will showcase the worlds greatest athletes competing in a variety of sports from handball to water polo and everything in between. It’s a time to become fanatical about judo, even if you haven’t thought about judo at all for the last four years. We will be able to enjoy precision shooting and world class boxing exhibitions. There is even an event called the modern pentathlon, where you shoot a pistol, fence, swim, jump a horse and then make a run for it or as I like to call it, the “prison break” competition.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be handed out in table tennis, field hockey and canoeing, but not baseball or softball. You see, 30 different sports will be showcased over the next 17 days and although the list seems endless, it is far from complete. These are the “Summer” Olympics correct? What happened to all the fun “Summer” sports? Many of the good ones have be banished to the far depths of Olympic history.

I have the complete list of all 30 current Summer Olympic sports and below that I have made a list of five events that I would like to see resurrected.

  1. archery
  2. badminton
  3. basketball
  4. beach volleyball
  5. boxing
  6. canoe / kayak
  7. cycling
  8. diving
  9. equestrian
  10. fencing
  11. field hockey
  12. gymnastics
  13. handball
  14. judo
  15. modern pentathlon
  16. rowing
  17. sailing
  18. shooting
  19. soccer / football
  20. swimming
  21. synchronized swimming
  22. table tennis
  23. taekwondo
  24. tennis
  25. track and field
  26. triathlon (swimming, biking, running)
  27. volleyball
  28. water polo
  29. weightlifting
  30. wrestling

Here is the list of sports that need to make a comeback and fast!

1. Plunge for Distance – A water sport in which competitors dive as far down to the bottom of the pool as possible and stay there as long as they humanly can. The athlete that goes the deepest and stay there the longest wins the Gold. You want drama, that’s real drama! That’s an event an average Joe like me can really sink their teeth into. What kid hasn’t done this in their own backyard pool? Talk about appealing to the masses!

2. Basque Pelota – Some of you may be more familiar with the term “Jai Alai” which is a variation of the game. Basically it’s a sport played on a court with a ball and either your hand, a racket, a wooden bat or basket. The game has its roots in ancient Greece and is played and competed in all over the world. I think the Olympics missed the boat with this one. What could possibly go wrong with a sport that has so many rules and no standardized type of racket or basket? Hmpf, go figure.

3. Croquet – I used to play this at my Aunt’s barbecue’s in the summer and it was instrumental in the movie “Alice in Wonderland.” I cannot for the life of me figure out why this sport was dumped. Nothing screams summer fun louder than trying to hit a little ball through rings on the ground with a mallet. Hey, if Curling can use brooms and be popular than why not a sport with wooden hammers?

4. Tug-of-War – Hello! IOC are you listening? You dropped Tug-of-War? An iconic competition that today still has plenty of life at picnics and schools all across the world. Plus, its always good for a quick laugh in goofy teen shows. Especially when the “good guys” let go of the rope and the “bad guys” end up face down in sloppy pile of mud! North Korea I’m looking at you!

5. Baseball – Of course, how could the Summer Olympics turn its back on the true “Boys of Summer?” At first I was ready to fight for baseball because I am truly a fan, then I watch the London opening ceremonies and remembered why baseball was let go. Even the most beautiful things can wither and die after three-plus hours of limping along. In our fast paced, on-the-go society, baseball has lost its place and the IOC recognized this a few years back.. But hey, at least we still have soccer! Woohoo!

Now take a moment to soak that all in and as you watch the synchronized swimming final in amazement, try to not forget those sports that came before and paved the way for such a majestic and well…boring event. Come on…you know you would rather be watching tug-of-war. I won’t say I told you so, but…

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Email me at StevePalumboNHL@gmail.com

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