There is an alternate reality— you’re just going to have to trust me on this— wherein it’s finally my turn to be Galactic President. In this alternate reality, as Galactic President, I have definite views on what should and what should not be an olympic sport, and I have the power to turn these views into laws.
My first law, law number one, is that, if a competitor receives extra points for smiling, then that competition is not an olympic sport.
Therefore, synchronized swimming is out. Case closed.
Law number two states that, if a competition requires a panel of judges to issue an opinion concerning style, then that competition is not an olympic sport.
Therefore, gymnastics is out. So is ballroom dancing. I am fully aware that both gymnastics and ballroom dancing require extremely capable people to perform well. Doesn’t matter. They also require style judges. They’re out.
Law number three, an extremely important law, states that, if a competition requires a soundtrack, it’s not an olympic sport.
This means that floor gymnastics is disqualified on two counts. Maybe even three, though today I was watching this competition on NBC and couldn’t tell definitively whether the Chinese woman smiled, so I’m willing to allow that smiling isn’t a critical part of the event.
Faster, higher, stronger, farther. That’s what the Olympics in this alternate reality are about.
My rulings on chess and bowling are hotly debated.
They’re out, of course, but they’re out because of law number four, which states that any competition wherein one can eat six hot dogs before the event, and six hot dogs after the event, and still be a top competitor, is out.
Sumo wrestling is out; those people are killing themselves.
Competitive eating is out.
Judging “alternate me” by my laws, one could make a case that I have some inherent bias against gymnastics. That case would be solid. It’s not true, however, that I don’t admire what a top-notch gymnast does. On the contrary, they do amazing things.
Today, I was watching the women’s floor program. These women were clearly doing things that I couldn’t do in a million years. And they looked great doing it. However, “things I couldn’t do in a million years” should not be the litmus test for Olympic competition. Using that criterion, one should be able to win medals in octopus-eating and competitive cup-stacking.
These are not competitions you will find in the Olympics in the alternate reality wherein I’m finally Galactic President.