Dr. Millen’s thoughts about the London Olympics

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By Dr. Jonathan H. Millen

I am not a hater, but during the 2012 summer Olympics did anyone else notice that:

  • Apart from those employed by the NBC family of networks, not too many people thought very highly of the opening ceremonies.
  • While the fab five (now the fierce five?) were lauded for their mutual support on and off the mat, their congratulatory hugs could not have looked any more superficial.  Now May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings – they know how to hug!
  • Uniforms are better suited for sports than outfits.  I am equally suspect of any “sport” that allows artistic interpretation to factor into the judging.  More on this in a moment.
  • Synchronized” and “sports” are two words that do not go well together.  Ever.
  • Poetry is no longer an Olympic event. In fact, the 1948 games (also in London) were the last to feature a poetry competition.  Clearly, poetry was not a sport and no one mistook the poets for athletes.  I suggest we develop a clear distinction between artistic competitions and sports.  In the former category, I would place rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and equestrian dressage.  Let’s also be clear that ping-pong and badminton are games.  I am willing to stipulate that all competitors are athletes, but not all competitions and games are sports.
  • Water polo is a brutal sport and handball looks fun – a civilized cross between dodge ball and soccer.
  • Bicycle sprint racing looks like a Monty Python skit (if you have never seen this, you MUST watch the clip!)
  • If it weren’t for instant replay, all platform dives would look identical.
  • The number of times that Usain Bolt referred to himself as a legend was far greater than the number of medals he won.
  • Bruce Jenner, the 1976 decathlon gold medal winner, was not called upon for any expert commentary.  Having the Kardashians in London would have been fabulous!
  • There are far too many swimming events.  Swimming should be a race.  From one end of the pool to the other.  It shouldn’t matter how you get there; back stroke, breast stroke, butterfly, whichever is fastest for you.  After all, we don’t have backwards running or hopping or twirly-stepping in the track events.  And that reminds me of an actual Monty Python skit.
  • It looks like it takes an engineering degree to qualify as an archer.  Does anyone really believe that Katniss could operate one of these contraptions?
  • Even though the final game was close, the men’s gold medal in basketball was the most anticlimactic victory in recent memory.  And speaking of basketball, what makes it a summer sport as opposed to winter?  Last I checked, the NBA at least, has a schedule very similar to the NHL.  Also, when and where did they hold the tryouts for the U.S. team?
  • Kayaking down artificial rapids is akin to skiing down an artificial mountain.
  • With wrestling, taekwondo, judo, fencing and boxing in the games, it can only be a matter of time before Ultimate Fighting/Mixed Martial Arts is scheduled as an Olympic event.  I for one would much rather watch two willing gladiators in the ring than sailing.

Don’t get me wrong I love the Olympics and was inspired by many of the teams and athletes.   And I look forward to the next summer games in Rio – even though summer in Rio is from December to March.  Don’t even get me started.

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