An open letter to International Olympic Committee President Count Jacques Rogge:
I have been greatly concerned throughout the past few weeks upon viewing the reactions of secondary school students to the recent Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. On the whole, the students were entirely disinterested in the proceedings, something that does not bode well for future gatherings of your Olympic family.
As such, I present to you free of charge a number of ideas which you could incorporate into future Olympic Games. Indeed, if you want the bored and disillusioned kiddies of today to pay any attention whatsoever to Sochi come 2014, you need to begin the transition into the New and Improved Games in the very near future.
Before I begin, I must commend the Olympic Movement on two of the initiatives instituted in Vancouver. The kids absolutely loved the face-slashing celebration, first used by the Chinese women’s 3,000m relay speed skating team. Clearly, blood on the podium draws in the kiddies – absolutely something to re-create for future Games.
Also, the kids loved the sheer speed of the luge, skeleton and bobsled. Not that they can ever tell if a sled is travelling at 75mph or 95mph while they’re watching on TV, but they love the chance of a seriously spectacular and potentially deadly crash. Your choice of track in this regard was a stroke of absolute genius – the kids are looking forward to even more speed come Sochi, and if you could continue to ensure that the sliders don’t have too many practice runs before they have a crack at the fastest track they’ve ever been on in the most nerve-wracking competition of their lives, that’d be great too.
You may fear that bringing the kiddies to figure skating is too hard a task. In reality though, there’s a simple fix: a lottery should be held about a month out from the competition so that one of the world’s sports fans can select the music for each of the skaters/teams to perform to. All of this Rachmaninov bullshit just isn’t working. The kids want a sense of The Big Day Out at the ice rink – and seriously, how much better would it be to see skaters choreographing routines to tunes from Wolfmother, Muse and Phoenix? We could have given the Canadians some homegrown music on their home ice – would love to have seen that Ice Dancing pair choreograph something to Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’. And you can’t honestly tell me that you wouldn’t love to see that arrogant Russian skate around to Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie”, or perhaps The Goodies’ “Funky Gibbon”. And let’s see how the Americans do with Midnight Oil’s “U.S. Forces”, and how those who dress up as Aborigines go with Yothu Yindi’s “Treaty”.
In our football codes here in Australia, we’ve learnt the benefit of having umpires and referees miked-up to explain decisions that we at home might not understand or see for ourselves. It may not stop the death threats, but how about something similar for short track speed skating? Have the tv show us what the judge is seeing on his replay screen and let us listen into what he’s saying to the other judges. A great opportunity to make the officials even greater villains of every story!
Of course, we also know that the video judge is often unable to make such calls confidently…at which time, a tie-breaker will be required. Now, to really pick up in the latest sporting craze for the kiddies, you could drop a cage from the roof into the centre of the ice, UFC style, and have the skaters fight it out. Might need to take their skates off, though – the kids want blood, but not dismembered limbs apparently.
There’s also a lack of teen-celebrities involved in the Games these days. How about you bring them in for the biathlon – instead of shooting at black circles, the racers could shoot at images of Teen Choice Award winners. This innovation would bring a benefit which is two-fold: the kiddies would watch to see images of Kutcher, Duff, Cyrus & Spears while the adults will thoroughly enjoy seeing bullets shot in anger at their portraits.
And finally, with your next broadcast deal, it should be required that all broadcasters show more curling and biathlon than they show figure skating and ice dancing. In every country, regardless of their interests in winter sports.
Unless, of course, they’re screening a pair of petite, graceful skaters dancing to the refined tones of “Closer” by the Nine Inch Nails.
Edward P. Olsen