Monday, August 23, 2004

The Great International Cook-Off

Well, it's the Olympic season again, which means it's time for the predictable, inevitable judging controversy.

Why does this always seem to happen? Because the Olympics is mostly comprised of silly activities that aren't sports. The bigger question is: why is anyone suprised?

The beauty of sports is that they are objective. There's a scoreboard, and you know how you did the second you sit down . In girlish Olympic activities, you have to wait seconds, minutes, hours, or sometimes days to find out how you actually did. You have no idea until some judge tells you.

There's one reason--and one reason only--that these ridiculous activities are televised: girls like them. I'm fine with that; to each her own. But let's not call them "sports," and let's not waste pages in the sports section talking about them. Put them where they belong: in the Arts & Style section of the paper.

Medals are given in these activities based on how they strike the internal fancy of some effete, probably-corrupt judge. Giving medals for ballroom dancing, synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics or, yes, the uneven bars, has as much to do with "sports" as awarding ribbons at a wine-tasting. We may as well settle that longstanding "Tastes great/Less filling!" dispute by making it an Olympic "sport."

If your activity is so subjective that it hinges on some poofter in a blazer deciding whether he feels like you had enough "amplitude" or not, fine. Have at it. But don't come crying to me when the whole thing gets screwed up because Jean-Philippe got a grain of pommel-rosin in his eye.

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