We were sitting at the dinner table last night, talking about Katie Ledecky’s new 1500 meter swimming record, when the topic of wrestling came up. Wrestling, as you know, was delisted as an Olympic sport last year, despite being one of the originals. Such arduous and athletic sports as shooting, archery, equestrian, sailing and, yes, curling, are still part of the Olympics. I know it all has to do with sponsors, money, and pull – how else could shooting be an Olympic sport, except that Glock, Browning, and Smith & Wesson support it?
After we get rid of those patrician sports, there are a few I would like to add. At the top is Finnish Wife Carrying (shown above), a sport of strength, finesse, and endurance (there is a water obstacle, as in steeplechase). Chai-carrying is also a very physical art form, especially when practiced in crowded lanes at high speeds, and certainly equal to rhythmic gymnastics. It’s expanding throughout the diasporas of the sub-continent. Team jump-roping has deep roots in North America and Asia, and is not at all gender-specific. I also like freestyle tree-climbing, with the type of tree depending on the host nation. However my number one addition would be three-on-three mixed gender, max weight 140 pounds, street football (soccer) played in empty 25 meter swimming pools (left when synchronized swimming is delisted) with balls made in Haiti — 2 kilos of blue plastic bags tied with 1 meter of twine. No sponsors allowed, but I guarantee more TV viewers for this one sport than currently view all the patrician sports above.