10 Sports that Should Be in the Olympics
I love the Olympics! I Love its internationality, I love its history, I love a chance to celebrate with friends and I like watching humans do extraordinary things! But I also have my problems with the Olympics, for example, they seem to have absolutely no idea how people currently consume media. Like we can talk about them banning gifs, we can talk about their “social media opening ceremony with Ryan Seacrest”, or we can talk about how it’s impossible to watch the Olympics on the Internet without a cable subscription, which most young people rightly recognize as a really bad investment. But I think if the Olympic Games can correctly imagine how media works right now, there’s a bigger opportunity that’s being missed. The Olympics needs to understand itself and share itself as a massively parallel viewing experience with lots – I mean tons – of different things happening all at the same time. And with distribution and production costs dropping like a rock, I think that’s super totally possible; all they need is a ton of new, interesting, and weird events. So, here are 17 (actually 16) sports that I think, absolutely 100%, should be added to the Olympic Games.
1. Sepak Takraw
a mind-bending game native to Southeast Asia, that’s basically volleyball, except played without hands. Every spike, volley, serve and block is done with the head, torso, and legs. And this game is like 90% bicycle kicks; it’s so cool and I want it to be celebrated!
Now I know this might seem a little bit silly, but in fact, it used to be an Olympic sport a mere 100 years ago. It’s a fun team sport, with simple as dirt rules, that I frankly would love watching every four years.
You can think of this as like gymnastics, but also fighting. Wushu is complex, and beautiful, and difficult to understand fully, but very easy to enjoy, with both combat versions and an exhibition version.
I don’t know anything about cricket, except that it’s the second most popular game in the entire world, and it’s not in the Olympics, and that’s dumb.
5. Acapella singing
which I’m probably just mentioning because Peter Hollens just released a collab video that I did with him singing Hobbit drinking songs, and it’s really great, and I’m really proud of it, and there’s a link in the description.
6. Kite fighting
Using kite strings coated in finely ground glass, this South Asian sport pits kite flyers against each other with the goal of cutting the other person’s kite string. This sport is popular from Afghanistan to Vietnam to Brazil.
The longest race of the Olympics right now is the marathon, at just over 26 miles; ultrarunners regularly race over a hundred miles, sometimes with huge elevation gains. It’s one of the most remarkable things that humans do.
Now a lot of people belittle cheerleading, but it’s pretty amazing these days; and I love the idea of cheer teams cheering for entire nations, rather than just schools or sports teams.
It’s a kind of full-contact tag. Each team takes turns having an attacker raid the other side: and they have to get in there, and touch another person on the other side, and then get back across their line without getting tackled.
10. Mounted archery
Because if you’ve got this and you’ve got this, then you might as well have this. Yeeaaah. There are some things about the Olympics that are necessarily old-fashioned: the pageantry and the patriotism, and I don’t think it should leave those things behind, but I do think that this wonderful and ancient tradition could do a lot to be more inclusive of the marvellous cultural diversity of our species, and thanks to modern technology, I think it can be.
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