Are all Olympic medals created equal?

ALL Olympians are considered ‘athletes.’ And they ALL get the same medal.

But how can a gold medal in Gymnastics be compared  to a gold medal in Fencing? Or Badminton?

Gymnasts twist and flip their way up and down a mat, across a 4” bar. They swing about on two thin bars high in the air. And toss their bodies up over a vault horse. They train longer than most adults work at their jobs. They give up their childhood, teenage years, family life, etc.

How can that be the same as chasing a plastic birdie about on a lawn, or court?

And can somebody please explain to why itty bitty Speedo bathing suits are the ‘uniform’ for men’s water polo? Is it so the ‘athletes’ are more streamlined moving through the water? Those men have ‘butt’ cleavage.

In the 10 minutes I watched, (that was about all I could take…) I learned that there is a Power Play in water polo. Which had me wondering what makes up a foul? Holding somebody’s ankle under the water perhaps? Like when we played water polo in middle school gym class…

Sand Volleyball.

The kids and I watched, but we didn’t enjoy watching the men play. Not at all.

Me: I don’t LIKE the men’s sand volleyball.

Son (From his Man Chair with Footstool): Can’t stand it.

Me: Not sure why. I really like watching women’s sand volleyball.

Son: The girls play harder.

Daughter: Yeah they do! They go all out diving for the ball. Then hopping back up for the kill.

Son: The women go after everything. Not the men. They think they can’t get it, just kind of watch it drop. Like they’re thinking…. “Let’s just try for the next one.”

Me: I think you guys are right…

And yes, I’m going there. Swimming.

I understand that 20+ medals are A LOT of medals. And I have nothing against swimming. But there are so many MORE events than any other sport. How can we compare swimmers who can do (what seems like) 15 events in the Olympics with a basketball team that can go for 1 medal?

If we let the gymnasts do tumble across the floor forwards. Then backwards. A ‘short’ floor routine—say two tumbling passes. Then a long floor routine.

Or take basketball. They could play 2 on 2, have 3 point contests, slam dunk contests.

There are ways to amp up the opportunities to medal in other sports. To add more ‘events’ and more opportunities to medal. So that more ‘athletes’ could be ‘most decorated.’

Swimmers get to swim backstroke for two laps, then four laps and who knows how many other categories. I lost count of all the times the swimmers hopped into the pool to swim the SAME 4 strokes 27 different ways; freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke and butterfly. And that isn’t counting the relays…

The Triathlon…

Just the thought of it is exhausting. Takes the body to its limits of strength, endurance and mental/emotional toughness.

Does Shooting take the same amount of preparation? What toll does ’target practice’ take on the body? Training time per day?

Can Table Tennis really be compared to Tennis? Most people can manage to play ping pong—maybe not to that level, but ping pong must be learnable. Tennis is much more difficult. Neither compares to gymnastics, though.

I can’t help but wonder what the NEXT Olympic sport might be?

My vote:

Hide n’ Seek. Or Red Rover. Golf?

Ideas, anyone???

4 thoughts on “Are all Olympic medals created equal?

  1. Amy, good observations– also in my humble opinion it was much more enjoyable when the Olympic athletes were amatuers. I refuse to watch these pro basketballers demolish teams like Italy, whose tallest guy is 5’6? Totally unfair. Guess what, golf is going to be an Olympic sport in four years–yippee ki-ay. You have summed it up nicely. Who cares about total medals–swimmers can be in 15 events, the others somewhere between 1 and 4 or 5. One final comment, the medalists now get money for winning a medal—25 thousand clams for a gold–what’s this all about? Good job Amy, your blogs are excellent!

  2. I’ve got it dj!!! My new career is going to be Olympic Athelete. I could take up shooting. It is far too late for gymnastics and there is no way I am fit enough for t triathalon. Just get me a gun and a target. $25,000 doesn’t sound terrible.

  3. There’s a lot of really rough play under the water in water polo, trying to pull the opponent under the water. Of course, if you’re caught, it’s a foul. But you’re generally not caught. So water polo players wear small suits, tight, so that there’s not much suit for the opponent to grab them by. They are also made of really tough fabric, so that they don’t get ripped off the player. All players have to have their fingernails inspected before a game, to be sure that they haven’t been filed to a point.

    Also, the water polo players are in fantastic shape, so they have the body to rock a brief (Speedo).

    • John, I knew there had to be an explanation!!! And as with many things, there is more to the sport of water polo than meets the eye. Thanks for taking a few minutes to educate us, to set me straight. And yes, those players DO rock the bathing suits…Amy

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