Back to real sports...

With the Olympics finally wrapping up, it's time for me to rant about the crappiness of them again - an Adam Reisinger once-every-four-years tradition. This time though, the rant is a little more specific. I've seen this mentioned a couple sites in the past few days, but I'm going into more detail on my theory: events that require judges to decide the outcome are not sports. Gymnastics: nope. Diving: not so much. Equestrian: dear God, no.

It's very simple. In basketball, two teams go back and forth scoring points, and at the end of a predetermined amount of time, the team with the most points wins. Same deal in football, soccer, hockey, etc. Baseball works on a similar concept. Individual sports like track and weightlifting simply measure speed, distance, strength, etc. and at the end there's a winner. The thing that separates these sports from judged competition is that if two people/teams were playing with no one else around, they could know at the end who won. If two figure skaters do routines in an empty arena, how do they decide who won? They can't.

Now, I've been spouting this theory for years, and my friends have tried to poke holes in it, but the fact is, it works. What about boxing? Boxing has judges. Yes, it does, but boil it down to the "two competitor" test again. If two boxers are fighting in a ring, the last one standing wins. No judges needed. Ditto for wrestling. Sure, in events like the Olympics, and even championship boxing, judges make sense for time purposes. Without judges, a wrestling match could last hours. Still, it would eventually have a definitive winner. Two gymnasts could do floor exercises for hours and all they would have definitively decided is that they're both in good shape. If you can find a sport that most people consider a "sport" but that doesn't pass my "two competitor" test, let me know.

So, final point on this matter: Judges suck. Though I'm sure Paul Hamm could tell you that right now.

As for the other, real sport issue of these Olympics, the US men's basketball team managed to salvage bronze, despite being a complete disaster of a team. Whoever puts together the team for the 2008 games should watch the first 20 or so minutes of the movie "Miracle." Here are two quotes that just about define the problems with USA Basketball right now:

Craig Patrick: You're missing the best players.
Herb Brooks: I'm not looking for the best players, Craig, I'm lookin' for the right ones.
Herb Brooks: All-star teams fail because they rely solely on the individual's talent.
I could go into this with more detail, but I don't think I need to. The fact is we didn't bring the right team to Athens, and it had very little to do with not having Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant or Shaq (those guys probably could have helped though).

Out for now. Check back tomorrow for another update.

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