02.08.2016

How to improve the Olympics

Because we're way overdue for synchronized vaping

By Hugh Upsher

Competitive sport has always been a curiosity to me. Don’t get me wrong, sport in general is great, but I have always swayed on the side of the “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game!” philosophy. That being said, the Olympic Games has an undeniable gravitational pull that goes far beyond watching people run really fast around a circle. It has a way of bringing the world together for a brief few weeks where we pretend that everyone is totally cool with each other.

Now if only it wasn’t a boring mess of obscure events that 97% of us have no understanding of or genuine appreciation for. Luckily, I have all the suggestions needed to bring the Olympic Games up to speed!

Keep up with the times

Problem: It’s all well and good that the Olympics has a long and rich history, but so do racism and polio. Each four-year cycle should be an opportunity to totally reinvent the brand to present a sporting spectacle that reflects our ever-evolving society. Sure, Rugby Sevens has crept in, and Skateboarding will debut in 2020, but it feels like they’re seriously dragging their feet in terms of innovation.

Solution: Instead of the dancing horses of equestrian dressage, have synchronized vaping. Instead of archery, have remote controlled drone racing. Instead of whatever handball is, have a StarCraft II tournament. Instead of the uncomfortably intimate Greco-Roman Wrestling, have epic lip-synch battles. If The Games wants to be relevant to anyone under the age of forty who isn’t a direct relative of a competitor, they’ll need to be heaps more agile going forward.

Lessons from WWE

Problem: It's almost impossible to form any attachment to athletes that we didn’t even know existed before entering the frame of our televisions. These super ambitious characters only get a precious fifteen minutes of fame, at best, before dissolving back into obscurity forever.

Solution: The obvious solution in my mind is to allow every athlete to compete under his or her chosen pseudonym and wear customized costumes in the style of WWE wrestlers. The rhythmic gymnastics competitors already have the right idea, we just need it to spread to all the other events. The Cold War ended years ago so there’s no real need to still trap these athletes in the colours of their native superpowers.

Hire writers

Problem: In many ways, sport was the original reality television. There are real characters and real consequences, and everyone is invited into their lives voyeuristically for the purposes of fame and fortune. The problem is that reality television shows have evolved into a hyper reality phase with the assistance of writers and directors silently steering the ‘reality’ into more bizarre and entertaining directions. Sadly, this has made genuine reality broadcasting seem dull and predictable by comparison.

Solution: Cherry-pick a world-class team of writers, editors and directors from shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Bachelor and Survivor to take the reigns and be put in charge of broadcasting duties. These people are the world champions in constructing bitter rivalries out of nothing, building unnecessary tension with dramatic music and blowing petty interactions way out of proportion. Just imagine how much an Olympics viewing experience could improve with some corny cliffhangers, surprise entrances and kooky hijinks.