Thursday, 9 August 2012

Olympic skateboading

Are you looking forward to the Olympic skateboarding final? It should be quite a spectacle; probably lots of jumps and flips and the occasional broken neck.

If so, you have a few years to wait, skateboarding is not an Olympic sport yet.

Unlike BMX biking which is, also Keirin biking (chasing a motorbike) and Omnium biking (a six event biking equivalent of the heptathlon.)  In fact, in all, there are five cycling track events for men at the Olympics, eight track events for women, four road events for male cyclists, two for the woman, There is also mountain biking for men and women and BMX biking for both as well. Which raises the question: how many medals are up for grabs in just cycling alone? Not so fast with that answer though, some of those are team events!

There is the "team pursuit" with four riders in the male team, and three in the women's team. There is also the "team sprint" with three riders in the men's team and two in the women's team.

So, keeping in mind there is a gold, silver and bronze on offer for each event, put it all together and what have you got? How many actual physical medals are going to be handed out? The answer is: 78. Yes, seventy-eight medals are available to the cyclists. That is 78 medals to be shared between about 500 Olympic cyclists.

When the cyclists designed their sport they certainly made sure there were not going home empty-handed (or should that be bare-chested?)

Can we find a 'greedier' sport? Well, how many medals are available for Judo? Let us think. Gold, silver, bronze, male and female - is the answer 6? Nope, you forgot to account for the fact that there are seven different weight classes. So the actual answer is 42. The 'judokas' have made a big mistake though - they forgot to include any team events in their sport.

The shooters have also managed inflate the number of medals they can get. Firstly, all events are male or female. There is no obvious reason why men and women should compete separately in shooting - the gun does all the work. Next, you can shoot at static targets or moving targets, you can shoot with a rifle or a pistol or a shotgun, you can shoot standing or prone, and of course there is the ever popular shooting at multiple moving targets at the same time. Put it all together what have you got? Nine events, 54 medals.

Again the shooters do not seem to have been able to design in any team events; foolish, that is where the big medal hauls come from. The rowers have done better. They have team events, and also weight categories - that is clever. For the record the rowing events are for men: single scull, double scull, quad scull, coxless pair, coxless four, and eight-in-a-boat. There are separate events for 'lightweight' men: double scull and coxless four. The women have much the same except they do not have coxless fours in either weight category. (Only two weight categories in rowing! Room for improvement there.) In case you were wondering: scull means each rower has two oars while in the other boats each rower only has one oar. In "eights" there is a ninth person called a "coxswain" who steers the boat - despite not rowing the cox still gets a medal. Anyway, when we do the math, we find that the rowers will be taking home a fantastic 318 medals.

If for some reason your sport does not lend itself to teams or weight categories there is another option: put "synchronised" in the name. The divers have managed to (nearly) double their medal chances by diving from various height platforms, and then doing it all over again - synchronised.

The ultimate Olympic event is the decathlon. Ten sports are contested over two days. The winner is traditionally dubbed "the world's greatest athlete" and his gold medal is known as "the big G." He stands supreme; the Olympian other Olympians bow down to. So how many medals are available to these ultra-athletes? Answer: just three: gold, silver and bronze. There are no teams, no weight categories, no synchronised, and no women's event.

And if you are wondering why I am going on about all this consider the big picture. There are (approx) 10,900 athletes competing in the Olympics and 4,700 medals to be won. That means that almost half of the athletes could take home a medal. Of course some athletes will win several medals so it will not work out like that. The games are rigged; not rigged to make them easier, but rigged to hand out prizes to the most possible participants. The more recently a sport has been added to the games the more blatant the rigging. The traditional track and field events have been pushed to the side in the medal stakes by newer sports which are hogging the limelight. Sadly, the ultimate sporting prize, the Olympic medal, has become devalued.


Anonymous said...

Not you too! I'll be glad when the whole blasted thing's over.

Anonymous said...

Do you think we could add betting on the events as a "sport"? that way even those underprivileged souls with GCSE's could win something...