Spruce up the Olympics with skeet hurdles and shot rowing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2004

[08/19/2004] As the Summer Olympics close in on the close of the fortnight, it is apparent that these games will go down as the most boring, dull, least-attended games in modern history.

Huge sections of arenas are left empty during marquee events such as women’s gymnastics, swimming and basketball. The U.S. men’s team played in front of an almost packed house on Tuesday but the opponent was Greece, the host team.

It has occurred that maybe the games are just too plain. Maybe the International Olympic Committee should begin sprucing up the events.

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Keep fencing and water polo, but combine them. The goalie for each team is equipped with a saber. At any time during the match, he can lance any opponent. Shots will be taken from 50 yards away keeping scoring to a minimum.

Shot rowing: Teams will continue their rowing competition, but in the last 100 meters, shot putters will line the water’s edge and throw the shot toward the rowers.

Any boat that reaches the finish line without being hit by the shot will earn a perfect score of 10. Those boats getting hit with the shot, but still finishing, will get 5 points. Boats that sink or shots that knock out the hollering boat captain will be disqualified.

Skeet hurdles: With so many track athletes being investigated for doping, something must be done to make these events more difficult.

Skeet shooters will line up near the finish line and take aim at the hurdlers. There are 10 hurdles, and the skeet shooters will get more points that farther back they shoot the runners.

On the first set of hurdles, give the shooters 100 points and count backward. Hurdlers, if hit, can still crawl under the hurdles for bonus points.

Now that’s performance enhancing.

Texas Hold-Em Swim Poker. Each swimmer takes two laps, then they all stop and begin betting on the next three laps. After those, competitors can decide to stay in the meet, or bow out. After one more lap, they’ll have another chance to withdraw.

Any swimmers remaining will have a one-lap swim to the end down the river for all the marbles.

(If Texas Hold-Em Poker can be a real ESPN spectator sport, this one will most certainly fly.)

Synchronized javelin: Competitors will toss javelins back and forth to one another, a la juggling, and each team will get more points for one-handed catches, behind-the-back grabs and special dance moves during flight. Competitors get extra points if they catch the javelin while in the air.

Of course, this is way too late to implement now. Nothing will be able to save these Games from the disaster they already are.

But 2012 is looming. The IOC is still trying to pick a city.

May I suggest Yokena?

It couldn’t be any worse than this year.

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com.