Olympics – zzz? Time for a revamp!

Why stop at breakdancing and skateboarding? There are plenty of other sports begging for the Olympics limelight

When the summer Olympics roll around some sports are eagerly awaited. Others perhaps not so much.

Perennial favorites include track and field events, swimming and gymnastics plus the team sports such as basketball or volleyball.

These events are exciting, great to watch plus the average person can also relate to these sports.

We can run, we can swim…kind of.

“I could slay them at the pole vault or butterfly if only I had more time…”

Then there are sports that for whatever reason don’t get us circling dates on the calendar.

Highly paid tennis players are on our screens throughout the year so hardly a novelty. Pass.

While there’s no doubting the skill required to excel at other sports, some are either too hard to relate to or are simply not great spectacles.

Apologies to equestrian and sailing. Throughout the world the people who have access to a horse or boat are outnumbered by those who don’t.

Finally there are the events that are to put it politely, a tad slow-paced.

Can you recall the last time someone said, “Did you see the Olympic walking last night – nailbiting!”

Olympic organizers tried to spice things up with new sports for Tokyo 2020 and they will remain when the Olympics eventually get up and running. Karate, surfing, skateboarding and rock climbing were all added

Now that’s more like it.

However there are still more sports that people are demanding to be included.

These sports are guaranteed to have fans in a frenzy.

1: Greasy Pole Climbing

Exactly what it sounds like. Contestants race to climb to the top of a pole to grab a flag.

The pole is greased in anything slippery such as lanolin or axel grease or both. Winning strategies include forming a human tower and sending up a smaller body to wipe down the pole first.

This is enjoyed worldwide, from Brazil to the UK to Indonesia. It was actually in the 1904 Olympics but was disgracefully omitted from then on.

Bring back the good old days!

2: Kibasen / Catch the Hat

A big hit in Japanese schools on their sports days this combines teamwork, strategy and good old-fashioned aggression.

Three members link hands to form a “horse” and a fourth member wearing a headband or hat then climbs on top.

The goal is to rip the headwear off other members. Ideally the top member will be light and fearless with a penchant for violence.

Potentially dangerous, however there’s no denying it’s great to watch.

3: Kabaddi

Photo by Avinashsatamraju

Firstly, we have Bangladesh’s vote – it’s their national sport.

It’s wildly popular in South Asia and has its roots in ancient India.

For those who yearn for the days of Tag or British Bulldog, this could be your chance.

Deliciously simple. Two teams stand on opposite sides of a court.

One member from the attacking side has to cross into the defending team’s side. They have to tag as many members as possible and return to their own side without being tackled.

This ticks all boxes – exciting, easy to understand and a hint of violence which let’s face it – gets us in.

4: Sepak Takraw

Think volleyball with feet instead of hands.

What?! Impossible, you say. But no, very possible.

This incredibly athletic sport originated in Southeast Asia and can be played by 2, 3 or 4 players.

Like volleyball, players attempt to hit the ball over the net with the receiving team getting 3 attempts to return it.

Typically one player will try to stop the ball, another will set it up and then one player will boot it back to the opposition.

The agility and coordination required to keep the ball in play is spectacular to watch.

Southeast Asian sports fans definitely think so – championship crowds range from 20,000 to 40,000 fans.

To get an idea of the athleticism required, scrunch up a piece of paper into a ball then attempt to kick it back and forth with someone.

Go on, what else are you doing?

5: Tuna Tossing

Explaining the rules for tuna tossing shouldn’t take long: “See that tuna? Pick it up and throw it as far as you can.”

Not surprisingly this sport hails from South Australia, which exports around 25% of the world’s tuna.

The fishing town of Port Lincoln basically lives and breathes tuna. In 1979 organizers of the town’s annual festival wanted to add a tuna-related event to celebrate the huge contribution the bluefin makes to the local economy.

They reasoned that in order to be hired as a tuna fisher, a key skill is being able to toss tunas from the boat onto trucks at the port.

“Hey – there’s a sport!” they cried and tuna tossing was born.

Contestants have to throw a 10kg tuna and Olympic hammer throw techniques are the clear favorite.

The record stands at a whopping 37 metres. Holy flying fish.

These sports are all worthy of a medals podium and there are plenty more. Beer marathon, chess boxing…it’s endless, really.

If walking really fast or using a long pole to jump over another high pole can be Olympic sports then surely throwing fish and violent tag is the next logical step.

Photo by Bryan Turner on Unsplash

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