The International Olympics Committee, in an effort to be more inclusive, is considering a new playground category of sports events for 2020.
Lausanne, Switzerland – It’s not unusual for new events to be added to the Olympics. In 2016, golf and sevens rugby will join the long list of sports in which athletes from around the globe compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. On top of that, kitesurfing will replace windsurfing in the Rio competition.
In the 2020 Olympics, however, the members of the International Olympics Committee are considering a more radical change. After the dust-up concerning the possibility of removing wrestling, arguably the oldest sport in the history of the Olympics spanning all the way back to the 1896 Athens games and beyond, the IOC has leaned toward more liberal inclusion. As a result, some of the sports being considered for 2020 deviate farther from the norm.
“It’s just silly,” said nine-year-old Alisha Beck, a gymnastics hopeful for the 2020 Summer Games. “I train eight hours a day in a freezing building. I don’t get to have friends. Where did they train?”
They are young Olympic hopefuls as well, specifically those skilled in the schoolyard games of marbles, jump rope, and hopscotch, all of which are part of the new playground category.
Olympic sports categories (such as Aquatics), are further divided into disciplines (like swimming or water polo). Disciplines are further broken down into events (for instance, different lengths of swim races). Playground is both a category and its own discipline, then subdivided into three events: marbles, jump rope, and hopscotch.
And while the playground category hasn’t yet been approved, many committee members agree that it’s about time the Olympics included more pedestrian events. Some people, however, are less than impressed with the idea.
“My little girl works hard,” complained a disgruntled Suzanne Beck, mother of gymnast Alisha. “Nobody works hard to play hopscotch. It’s hardly even active! And what about marbles? They’re just flicking little glass balls with their thumbs!”
She has a valid point. There is some argument as to whether the playground events can even be considered sports. Sports, by definition, are athletic activities requiring skill or physical prowess and are often of a competitive nature. So marbles, for instance, is competitive but lacks an athletic element. Jumping rope is athletic, but not competitive. Hopscotch can be competitive, but requires little physical prowess.
“By that definition, marksmanship isn’t a sport,” says sports attorney Louis Cram. “Or archery. And did you hear they’re considering poker, as well? Marbles should be a shoe-in.”
That these games might not be sports isn’t the biggest complaint, however. Rugby jock Winston Blithe educated us on the real problem.
“Sports equipment ends up in all sorts of places throughout the event grounds,” he said. “With a basketball or rifle, this isn’t such a big deal. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? But what if someone gets hold of a jump rope. They could strangle someone! Or maybe a bucket of marbles gets spilled on a busy walkway? Mass chaos!”
Mass chaos indeed, Winston.