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Sports / Olympic Games


Subject:  Re: A Modest Proposal Date:  8/24/2004  2:15 PM
Author:  MsArden Number:  556 of 1785

What do you all think of the idea of removing judged sports from the olympics, or making them demonstration sports only?

None of this controversy would exist if we didn't rely on human judges. Instead, sports should be limited to those which can have an objective measure: distance or time.

I think it's an idea that's good in theory, but impossible to achieve in practice, because every sport relies to some degree on the judgment of officials or umpires or judges. A wrong or questionable call can completely alter the outcome or the momentum of a soccer game or football or any team sport, and while instant replay (at least in the case of football) can correct that, you're still fundamentally relying on people to judge what they're observing.

Even timed events aren't free from this sort of controversy – Men's swimming had two instances last week about possible DQs. There are rules and procedures that have to be followed in every sport, regardless of how a person or team is determined to have won.

Now, I will fully own up to my own biases – I love diving and figure skating and gymnastics and would honestly not have nearly as much interest in the Olympics without those sports. But there are guidelines for these sports, and I think that the fundamental problem from a spectator's standpoint is that the most entertaining and seemingly difficult routine isn't always “the best” or most challenging from a technical standpoint. I also don't agree with the scoring from last night's events, but I also know that there is a lot more that the judges are looking at than I am. Are there bad judges in gymnastics and figure skating? Of course – but I'm willing to bet that Oakland Raiders fans don't think much of the guy who reversed the call in the Snow Bowl of '02 that the Patriots eventually won, a win which they owe a great deal to that call. I'm a Pats fan through and through, but I know why Oakland was pissed.

Mistakes happen. But don't punish the athletes who get caught between the various international committees and the media – that just sucks.


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