Skateboarding, Surfing, Gender Races: Olympic Games Modernized

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    Jun 11, 2017 2:18 PM GMT
    NYT: Three-on-three basketball? Yes, please. Mixed-gender relays in the pool and on the track? Just tell me when to be there.

    The International Olympic Committee announced big changes to the Olympic sports menu for the 2020 Tokyo Games on Friday, and it’s not too early to get excited about some of them. The new events will guarantee that the Games in Japan won’t be anything like your parents’ Olympics. Unless, of course, your parents are into skateboarding and sport climbing and surfing. Those sports were added to the program for the Tokyo Games last year.

    For the I.O.C. to make this happen is one step short of extraordinary. Somehow, Thomas Bach, the I.O.C. president, and his stodgy cronies have succeeded in creating a new look for the old Olympics. Now the Games sound both fresh and fun. Not competing-in-the-nude fresh, the way the Olympics did things in the very old days, and not simply the regular kind of fun that comes from watching the best athletes in the world compete.

    Now there will be mixed-gender team events in archery, and in judo. There will be a 4-x-400-meter mixed relay in track and field, in which some of the world’s fastest men may run head-to-head against some of the world’s fastest women, and a mixed medley in swimming, which will offer the same in the water.

    Yet for all the positive change, and for all the sports and athletes who were winners this past week, there were some losers, too. No need to shed a tear for them.

    Track and field will lose 105 athlete slots, and men’s weight lifting will lose an entire weight class. In all, places for 64 weight lifters were cut, part of a series of bookkeeping adjustments that will make room for the new events while still shrinking the overall field of athletes.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/10/sports/olympics/freshening-up-the-olympics-sorry-mens-weight-lifters.html?
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    Jun 11, 2017 7:18 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidNYT: Three-on-three basketball? Yes, please. Mixed-gender relays in the pool and on the track? Just tell me when to be there.

    The International Olympic Committee announced big changes to the Olympic sports menu for the 2020 Tokyo Games on Friday, and it’s not too early to get excited about some of them. The new events will guarantee that the Games in Japan won’t be anything like your parents’ Olympics. Unless, of course, your parents are into skateboarding and sport climbing and surfing. Those sports were added to the program for the Tokyo Games last year.

    For the I.O.C. to make this happen is one step short of extraordinary. Somehow, Thomas Bach, the I.O.C. president, and his stodgy cronies have succeeded in creating a new look for the old Olympics. Now the Games sound both fresh and fun. Not competing-in-the-nude fresh, the way the Olympics did things in the very old days, and not simply the regular kind of fun that comes from watching the best athletes in the world compete.

    Now there will be mixed-gender team events in archery, and in judo. There will be a 4-x-400-meter mixed relay in track and field, in which some of the world’s fastest men may run head-to-head against some of the world’s fastest women, and a mixed medley in swimming, which will offer the same in the water.

    Yet for all the positive change, and for all the sports and athletes who were winners this past week, there were some losers, too. No need to shed a tear for them.

    Track and field will lose 105 athlete slots, and men’s weight lifting will lose an entire weight class. In all, places for 64 weight lifters were cut, part of a series of bookkeeping adjustments that will make room for the new events while still shrinking the overall field of athletes.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/10/sports/olympics/freshening-up-the-olympics-sorry-mens-weight-lifters.html?


    Mixed relay in T&F would be fun. Rest I really don't care about.
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    Jun 11, 2017 10:29 PM GMT
    The original Olympics had a core of skills directly applicable to military warfare of that era. Obviously events like the javelin, running, chariot races, and certain types of one-on-one personal combat were. Pole vaulting is also believed by some experts to have been a military skill, for quickly crossing low walls, ramparts, or ditches & moats, and other defensive obstacles like rows of sharpened wooden spikes. I'm not sure what military purpose the discus served.

    Plus the Greek games had religious significance, that we may not be able to fully comprehend today. They were part game, part ritual. Some believe the male nudity had a religious connection, perhaps "Man as the Gods Made Him", maybe also combined with unashamed adoration of the human form, but no one is certain. But the connection with Olympus, home of the Greek gods, that gave the name to the Games, is considered very significant.

    Today we view Olympic sport in a different context. Not religious, it is personal accomplishment, and a tribute to what we can do with our bodies. And we value events that demonstrate teamwork, something the early Olympics did not appear to stress as much, being more about individual achievement.

    In today's world I suppose any contemporary sport could be a candidate for inclusion. I'm not sure about mixed-gender events. Many sports give males a natural advantage. We may have to wait for the results. If men dominate the women in these events then I'm not sure that concept could remain popular. Neither among the athletes nor the spectators.