One thing everyone in Britain knows at the moment — if not everyone in the world — is that the Games of the XXX Olympiad (July 27 – August 12, 2012) are coming to London!
Although this grandest of international sporting events is still a ways off, we’re already starting to get into the mood at The Displaced Nation.
So I’ve decided to review some of the sports I’ve observed in my travels around the world that I’d like to see making an appearance at the Summer Olympic Games. And I’ll need your help with deciding on the most suitable candidate, which I’ll of course put forward to the International Olympic Committee — which will of course guarantee its inclusion if not this year then in four years’ time. Well, maybe.
Because I’m a recent addition to the population of the Southern Hemisphere, I’ve picked some of the more interesting and praiseworthy activities from my part of the world, which, I believe, have been under-represented at a set of games that had their origins in ancient Greece.
I know there’s loads of candidates in the UK, in Europe and the US — we’ve all heard about cheese-rolling and bog snorkeling and beard-growing…haven’t we? Ah well, maybe we’ll get to those crazy sports next week.
I’ll open with an oddly appropriate quote from the American sports journalist Robert Strauss, on how success is achieved:
It’s a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired; you quit when the gorilla is tired.
With that in mind, let’s get down to the voting for the Next Olympic Sport. Here are your four candidates:
1) From Australia: SHEEP SHEARING
It’s a job; it’s a sport; it’s a hobby…the Aussies even hold a world championship of their own! Apparently seasoned shearers (or “guns”) can have the complete fleece off a medium-sized sheep is as little as two minutes. The current champion is Aussie Brendan Boyle, who in 2007 singlehandedly deprived 841 sheep of their coats in 24 hours! Hell, I think he deserves a medal just for wanting to. Or perhaps something more akin to a straight-jacket…
2) From South Africa: OSTRICH RACING
Yes, it’s true. It’s a sport and everything! They have jockeys and racetracks and…well, everything else you would expect, though it certainly isn’t sponsored by Goodyear. There are ostrich farms that occasionally let tourists have a go — but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Not only are ostriches damn hard to get on, harder to stay on and capable of doing over 40 mph — they’re also quite dangerous. Near Oudtshoorn, where the sport is most famously practiced, there are two or three people killed every year by ostriches — and up to a hundred world-wide! Brilliant. Kicked to death by an ostrich is going on my list of all-time weirdest ways to die!
I know, not exactly Southern Hemisphere — but this sport is so amazing it has to be given a chance! Check it out:
Like most sports, this probably goes on in other places too. Other, equally crazy places… But for the feat of flexibility this activity requires, you really can’t beat the Birthplace of Yoga when it comes to training. In India, when roller-skating under bars and beams ceases to be enough of a challenge, they try skating under cars! And when that’s no enough — under LOTS of cars!
In October of last year, an 11-year-old boy Rohan Ajit Kokane took advantage of the 35cm ground clearance and skated, blindfolded, underneath 20 cars in a row — a new Guinness World Record! If asked how he’d felt during the challenge, I’m sure he’d have replied “a little low…”
4) From New Zealand: ZORBING
Well, it’s hard to see how rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball could become competitive enough for a spot in the Olympics – unless the challenge was to see how many times you could do it without being violently sick all over yourself, whilst still inside…! (Oh yeah, that would take some cleaning up!)
As an athletic activity though, you can’t beat zorbing. Trust the New Zealanders to come up with such an immensely fun sport! I can foresee zorbing obstacle courses coming into vogue in the not-distant future — after all, you can literally walk on water in one of these things. Or, wait — is that the next Olympic sport? White-water zorbing! Now surely there’s something medal-worthy in that? As for an athlete who would like to compete? Me. I’ll do it! Please…?
So what do you think, Displaced Nation-ers?
Which of these four is worthy of being the next Olympic sport?
Cast your votes in our poll — and if you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear ‘em! Comment below, or hit us up on Twitter: @DisplacedNation and/or @TonyJamesSlater
Img: Tony James Slater celebrates his zorbing success (2009).
STAY TUNED for Wednesday’s Random Nomad interview with a champion linguist.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for THE DISPLACED DISPATCH, the weekly roundup of Displaced Nation posts—delivered to your inbox every Saturday! Includes book giveaways and lots of gossip about the expat blogosphere, who's doing/posting what. SIGN UP NOW and receive FREE download of the 1st 3 chapters of the expat e-book Libby's Life.
The founders of The Displaced Nation share a passion for what we call the "displaced life" of global residency and travel—particularly when it leads to creative pursuits, be it writing, art, food, business, social activism, or even (especially!) humo(u)r.