Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What next? Kickboard events?

This topic might not seem timely, but it was an interesting topic of conversation at the Showers' family dinner table the other night. It may also raise the ire of some of my not so loyal readers and maybe, just maybe, get them to post a comment. Here's hoping.

The topic of conversation that got us all in a tizzy was the sport of swimming. Namely the plethora of events in the sport of swimming. The swimmers it seems have discovered a way to give away more Olympic medals than any other sport. The gymnasts try hard to keep up with the swimmers in this department, but they still have a lot to learn. You see, these swimmers have the nerve to not just have a race to see who can go from point A to point B the fastest. They make up different ways you can get there and each way is its own event.
Sure, running races are run at different distance lengths as are speed skating races. I don't begrudge swimming the different events for different lengths of the race. I do take exception to there being four different methods of swimming with each being its own race and a fifth race thrown in called the "Medley" where you use all four. This would be like if running events were broken down into different ways of running. We would have the 100 metre backwards running, the hundred metres with hands clasped behind your head, the 100 metre freestyle, and the 100 metre duck walk.

Freestyle? It's called the freestyle because you can use whatever method you like, but everyone uses the front crawl. It's the fastest way to swim. Why have a race that doesn't allow you to propel yourself in the fastest way possible? That's called race walking and we all know how silly that is.

Imagine if when Dick Flosberry invented a new method to do the high jump, known as the Flosberry Flop, that high jump split into two events. One event for people using the "scissors" method and another for the floppers. No, high jumpers were not that silly. They realized the point was who could jump the highest and if there was a new way to jump higher then people should use it to jump higher.

Keep an eye on those cross-country skiers. They've been watching the swimmers and are making attempts to copy the swimmers medal hogging ways in the winter olympics. They've now got two methods used in separate events. There are events using the "classic" or traditional technique and ones in which you can use the newer skating technique (or essentially freestyle - whatever works best). Not only that but they have different events based on how the race is started. Some are called mass starts and others are pursuit events (staggered start with the best time winning). This is a disturbing development.

If swimmers or cross country skiers were running hockey, they'd have one league for players using curved sticks and another "classic" league with players using straight sticks. Basketball players would compete in games like we see today, but there would be other games that did not allow jump shots and players would have to shoot free throws underhanded. I could go on, but you get the picture.

As bad as I may be trying to make these swimmers out to be, it is in fact worse than this. You see, the swimmers started out with just freestyle events in the first Olympics. Then they weren't satisfied with just being able to win a few medals, so they started inventing new, get this, slower ways to swim so they could compete for medals in these one hand behind their back type races. I'm sure the international swimming federation is right now sitting in their boardroom trying to think of new slow ways to swim, so they can further increase their medal haul and have the next Michael Phelps dominate the Olympic coverage. Shame on you swimmers. Your Mark Spitz is no Carl Lewis.

Carl Lewis won his multiple medals by doing multiple things. He ran and he jumped.


  1. Well said. Except that it's Fosbury, not Flosberry.

  2. Sondra, sounds like dinner time at your house is lots of fun!
    Jack, be sure to engage Brian about swimming races at the next bridge night.

  3. Apparently there are now pictures of Jack in a speedo on all the dart boards of swimming clubs on the lower island! xelA.

  4. Jack, this is becoming tiresome. We agree again. Purposefully handicapping people in order to create a different event is like starting a professional basketball league that only allows short guys to play. Wait, they tried that didn't they? And how did that turn out?

  5. I think Flosberry was in the Dental Olympics. He won multiple golds in Flossing & Brushing but only silvered in Gum Massage...

    I think the problem really is, Jack, that you are taking the Olympics too seriously.

    My final comment is that all these swimming events are an Australian plot to make their remote, island nation get more publicity.


  6. Dan, are you besmirching my beloved Saskatoon Storm/Slam? Many nights of my youth were spent driving those two hours to the city to see these sub 6'3" dynamos who really, truely were just as good as your MJ's, height was the ONLY difference ;)