Every 4 years, the Summer Olympics return to our collective radar, reminding us how much we sporadically love swimming, running, and gymnastics, when they’re wrapped in an American flag. It’s a near perfect two weeks of television, time-zones and tape delays be damned, as we remember old favorites and pretend to know stuff about new superstars, primed to make their mark on a global stage.
I say near perfect because there are a few places that the International Olympic Committee could improve their offerings. I know it’s hard with hundreds of events over the course of weeks, so I don’t blame them for imperfection. Hey, even Katie Ledecky won a silver medal once.
I’ve got some ideas that would make the Olympics a bit better. I am not the hero you were asking for or deserve, just another white guy who thinks he can make an international situation better, while typing into a computer and sitting on the couch.
The problem is there is so little difference in gameplay each time the teams swim up and down the pool. I don’t exactly understand how they don’t either score on every trip or on no trips since every possession seems to be perimeter passing and a shot at the end of the shot clock. I propose a simple fix: we put one friendly dolphin in the pool with both teams. The dolphin will swim around and just get in the way occasionally. It is a harmless, majestic, and most importantly, unbiased creature who will serve as the wildcard that water polo needs.
Hurdles are awesome and always a high drama event. But in the two main hurdles events (the 100/110m and 400m) the hurdles are always in the same spots, meaning the race is very choreographed. I know that doesn’t mean it’s easy, but the hurdlers train to know exactly how many steps they’ll take before leaping. I want the 400m hurdles to place the 10 hurdles in random spots, which won’t be unveiled to the athletes until 30 minutes before the race. Now it’s a competition of running and jumping without all of the muscle memorization. (For the record, no hurdles would be placed dangerously close to one another. I’m not a monster.)
Played outside, with a 12 second shot clock, 3×3 hoops is a non-stop thrill ride. The teams play to 21 (by 1s and 2s) or for 10 minutes. A fun wrinkle is that the game doesn’t stop for a check ball after baskets, but instead the defensive team takes the ball out of the net and clears it, before starting their possession. Watching 3×3 is roughly 5 times better than 5×5, which means we must take it to the next logical progression, 1×1, which I assume would be either 10 times or 25 times better than 5×5. With an 8 second shot clock, offense can’t stall and dribble to nowhere. Every basketball player grew up on a diet of 1×1 games, so why not put it in the Olympics?
We only have 3 years until the next Summer Games so we’re really going to need to make some quick decisions on this one. I’ll be here waiting for the IOC to call. I know they are big fans of The Prompt.