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Sports the IOC think are more sport-like than rugby

Rugby isn’t an Olympic sport this summer. It will be in 2016 – kind of. That’s when rugby sevens is going to be included for both men and women. I find this to be stupid. The full game of rugby is intensely athletic and entertaining, and the sevens is really just a quick version of it, full of fantastic runs and fast plays … oh, wait. Maybe that’s why – they don’t want big slow people playing, because it isn’t as entertaining.

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By Karen Aney (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: July 18, 2012

This is a student newspaper. As such, it’s a really great place to climb on soap boxes at times. This, readers, is one of those times. So here’s my opinion, which is admittedly completely totally and entirely biased.

Here it is. Rugby isn’t an Olympic sport this summer. It will be in 2016 – kind of. That’s when rugby sevens is going to be included for both men and women. Speaking as a forward—they’re the big slow ones, typically—I find this to be stupid. The full game of rugby is intensely athletic and entertaining, and the sevens is really just a quick version of it, full of fantastic runs and fast plays … oh, wait. Maybe that’s why – they don’t want us big slow people playing, because it isn’t as entertaining. Either way, rugby is going to be half included in 2016, for the first time since 1924. That’s when it was removed after some crazy French fans started a riot after a game’s final whistle. Apparently, it took 78 years to get over it. This summer, we’re treated to a bunch of other sports that weren’t removed. Let’s just say that I don’t think they rank as high in the “sport” category as rugby does. Actually, no. Let’s not just say that. Let’s go through a list, shall we?

Beach Volleyball. Really? I know it’s not as easy to jump in sand as it is on a springy gym floor, but it just seems like an excuse to look at men in speedos and women in bikinis. You don’t even need a poll to know that 96 per cent of the fan base is just hoping for a wardrobe malfunction. Stick to real volleyball people. I want to watch the sport, and I’m old enough to buy Playboy if I need to see scantily clad people who are in good shape.

Archery. I’ll admit that there’s some pretty intense skill to this, but these days it’s not as much about skill as it is about whose bow is best. Like Katniss taught us, knowing how to shoot a bow well enough to hit a bag of apples could very well save our lives one day. These days, if you’re caught without your bow (which was likely paid for with a Cheerios endorsement) you’re likely screwed. If this sport wants to stay in the Olympics, I say it should get back to the wood-and-cat gut basics.

While we’re talking about archery, let’s mention the modern pentathlon (how’s that for a non-sequitor?), otherwise known as the sport for rich white dudes. I mean, really. It’s pistol shooting (who shoots pistols?), fencing (which doesn’t even need further comment), freestyle swimming (alright, maybe that one’s more accessible), show jumping (come on, they wear blazers. Blazers!), and cross-country running (also known as, in the words of Michael Johnson, the sport “descendants of slaves” do best). So that last one’s thrown in as an attempt at equality. It’s been around since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games, and was invented by Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the Olympics as we know them). Yeah, that was in 1912. The rich white dude competition has had its day in the sun, and according to a vote by the IOC in 2005, this is its last chance to gain some ratings. If you like watching rich white dudes, you’d best start a Facebook revolution or something.

Speaking of rich white dudes, let’s talk about Sailing. I’m not going to lie, I completely forgot this was an Olympic sport. Isn’t watching which boat gets blown fastest by the wind just a really small step up from watching the grass grow?

Table Tennis. Also known as ping-pong. Also known as the game that drunk people play at all-inclusive resorts. Contrary to logic, there is no four-shot minimum required to partake in this sport. I mean, it’s played on a table. You know what else happens on tables? Meals. Homework. Maybe dancing, if you’re at a party. And apparently, Olympic sports. Uh, no.

I’ll leave it there, though frankly, I could go on. I’ve likely offended a good chunk of you by slamming your all-time favourite events, but just think about it this way: I’m a rugby player, and I can tackle harder than you can complain. So there.

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