Olympic Hopefuls

by Laura Bedingfield Herakovich on August 16, 2012

You’ve either been off the grid or in a coma if you didn’t realize that the Summer Olympics just wrapped up in London. This past Sunday found the 302-event sports-a-rama winding down after 15 days of non-stop competition. Those beach volleyball girls can put their clothes back on now.

The Olympics rock. I am a mega-Olympic nerd, so I went online this morning to find out when I could get my next fix: only 539 days until the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Games in Sochi.

(It’s in Russia. Don’t worry; I had to look it up, too.)

Being a Winter Olympian takes some guts and mad skills. I mean, the Summer Olympics has some scary events, but if you fall, it’s on a mat (gymnastics) or into some water (platform diving). The Winter Olympics don’t play around; it’s a white-knuckled, nail-biter from start to finish. We’re talking sports filled with ice, speed and insanity, any one of which can kill you dead in the blink of an eye. Well, maybe except curling. That sport is ridiculous, but come 2014, I’ll be right there, cheering on our sweepers.

Meredith over on the hilarious blog, Pile of Babies, recently posted about 7 sports which had been discontinued from the Summer Olympics. Seriously, if you want to howl with laughter, read her article. She inspired me, so I did a quick search-a-roo on Olympic sports, both has-beens and wanna-bes. Oh, Nelly.

Leading the wanna-be’s (sports which have been demonstrated at the Games but for some reason or another–I mean, really–were not actually added):

Glima: also known as “folk wrestling”. Practice for this event takes place nightly at my house.

Savate: a fancy word for “French footfighting”. If my sons’ glima careers don’t work out, there’s always this.

Weight training with dumbbells. The snatch and the clean and jerk are just too easy when you get to use 2 hands, you dummies.

Skijoring: letting a horse (a horse, I say) pull you on snow skis. There is a variant for wusses where dogs are used instead. Or you could do the version of skijoring we used to do growing up in my neighborhood: your “skis” are skateboards, your “horse,” a pal on a bicycle. And we didn’t wear helmets. Take that, skeleton.

Pigeon Racing: Finally, a use for rats with wings. Forget “Call Me Maybe.” Just imagine what the Pigeon Racers could do with this gem.

Bandy: Soccer on ice with sticks. Or, hockey with a ball instead of a puck.

Cannon Shooting: I cannot possibly imagine why this sport was never upgraded to a medal-worth event.

Kite Flying. An Olympic event primed and ready for today’s society. No special dietary restrictions or sweating required. Overheard in the locker room:

“Hey, Eddie! Dude, you look beat; whatcha been doing?”

“Man, I’ve been hitting it hard, practicing my kite flying, you know. Coach says I really need to work on unrolling my string better. Now     make some room for me in that ice bath. And pass me a Bud Light.”

Ski Ballet. Wikipedia’s description: “A…routine of flips, rolls, leg       crossings, jumps, and spins.” My description: “Somebody call the Ski Patrol.”

Hurling. The sport of choice for frat boys.

Fire Fighting. Typically practiced at the conclusion of hurling practice at the frat house. Coach says it’s never really a practice until something catches on fire.

If you’re a French footfighting Pigeon Racer whose life-long goal has been the Rio Games in 2016 (please note the assumption that Pigeon Racing would be a summer event), I’m so sorry. It might be time for you to take up a new sport that actually has a chance of being medal worthy one day, such as:

Surfing. Did you know there are 48 land-locked countries in the world? Cool Runnings doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore now does it?

Billiards. For the Ivy League frat guys too cool for Hurling or Fire Fighting. Very few Vineyard Vines shirts are ruined during Billiard practice. Not so for Hurling or Fire Fighting.

Lifesaving. Yep. Some call it Med School; others call it a denied Olympic Sport.

Orienteering. Eagle Scouts unite. The Geocachers aren’t just gonna roll over, though, so consider yourselves warned.

Korfball. Co-ed Basketball, but with a much cooler name than “Co-ed Basketball”.

Chess. And some of you think Cheerleading isn’t a sport. Like, seriously.

Cricket. Matches can last up to 5 days. With 204 participating nations, it    would be all-cricket, all-the-time. Bor-ing. (Yes, those are crickets chirping.)

These sports are just an Application for Inclusion away from being medal worthy. Luckily, it takes a minimum of 7 years for an IOC recognized sport to become a true Olympic Sport, so you have some time to practice up.

2020 will be here before you know it, and my coaching services are still available. So call me, maybe.

Laura Bedingfield Herakovich does know that Hurling isn’t actually Projectile Vomiting; it’s kinda, sorta like lacrosse.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

SH August 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

I think Glima should be a sport simply because it’s fun to say. “What are you doing tonight?” “Oh nothing special…watching a little Glima.” It just sounds fancy.


Laura H. August 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

Here’s the crazy thing–NONE of this was made up! I promise–unless Google lied–someone somewhere is practicing folk wrestling.


One Funny Motha August 16, 2012 at 9:17 am

The kite flying would be perfect for my daughter. Maybe she could do it while watching t.v.


Laura H. August 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

Ah, the Movie Watching category. Good one. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


Tracy August 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

OK, my stomach hurts from laughing so hard. I always told my boys they could be Olympians. Who knew at the tender age of 8 and 6 they could bring home either gold or silver with your brew in Glima or Savate.

However, i too have olympic dreams. i could win gold in wine drinking (yes, drinking not tasting…tasting doesn’t even grant you a heat), dishwasher unloading, mass laundry, picking up stuff with your toes, working out but not losing weight (might tie into the gold medal i’d get in wine drinking)…wow, i am going to feel like a champion today (and tonight:).

fantastic writing, what a great way to kick off my day. now to get back to practice (yes, that’s taking out the garbage, dishwasher, washer/dryer and wait for it……the grocery!!!!!!



Laura H. August 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

cracking me up, T! We are definitely gold-medal Glima athletes…actually, I think they’d take gold, silver AND bronze. And then the rest of the world would be all “those US Glima athletes MUST be cheating or something.” 🙂 And my Olympic sport should be Carpool Driving. Thanks for reading!!!


Meredith August 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

“Horses, I say”. So funny. So so so funny!


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