Summer Olympics has room to grow

Americans were captivated by the swimming accomplishments of Michael Phelps during the recent Olympic Games.

While all of the plaudits and attention is well-deserved for winning eight gold medals and setting so many world-record setting performances, can anyone explain why there are so many world records set in swimming?

Of course, all of the attention given to Phelps took some accolades away from other outstanding performances. There are only so many hours of broadcast coverage that television can give, and it?s kind of hard to ignore eight gold medals by one individual.

Although to be fair, it should be noted that Phelps had a little help from his friends in three relay races.

In fact, when the U.S. relay team won the race that gave Phelps his eighth gold medal, it was almost as if the other three swimmers were invisible. All eyes were on Phelps.

The performance by sprinter Usain Bolt was equally impressive. Breaking records on the track don?t happen as frequently and one wonders how much faster a human being can run.

For all of the excitement surrounding the Olympics, it?s still fascinating to see the range of sports that are included in the Summer Games. Do we really need beach volleyball? Why are softball and baseball being dropped as sports?

Rather than drop sports, perhaps the International Olympic Committee should consider expanding the number of sports beyond the current offerings of archery, equestrian, judo, shooting, taekwondo, weightlifting, fencing, table tennis, water polo, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline gymnastics.

Here are some suggestions to the International Olympic Committee, who I?m sure want to know the opinion of a sports columnist from Marion County, America.

There?s no need to include all of these in the next Summer Olympics competition, but maybe they could be phased in during the next 24 years.

n Monopoly. This seems like a natural. A lot of countries want to have a monopoly on something, so let?s break out the game board and see who wins.

n Miniature golf. Wouldn?t it be fun to see the best putters in the world try to avoid hitting the infamous windmill?

n Fishing. Seems like an obvious oversight. Of course, with waters become more polluted around the world, it might be too great a challenge.

n Poker. Have you noticed the increasing number of poker tournaments on TV?

n Punt, pass and kick. It might be an entertaining competition between soccer and football players.

n NASCAR. The time is right to take car racing to the next level.

n Chess. The one problem with this event is the length of games. In order to get the games finished in two weeks, there would probably have to be a 30-second time limit for players to make a move.

n Checkers. Maybe in the case of any Olympics competition hosted by China, the game could be Chinese Checkers.

n Air Hockey. Nice contrast to ice hockey in the Winter Olympics.

n Pinball. Can?t you just sense the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat?

n Just Say Yes. Participants see who can ingest the largest amount of illegal drugs without getting caught.

For whatever reason, some countries dominate certain sports. For example, America does well in swimming, gymnastics and track.

China excels in diving, ping pong and gymnastics.

Kenya produces long distance/marathon runners.

So here are a couple of sports, in a loose sense of the word, which should increase the U.S. gold medal count.

n All-you-can-eat contest. Our advantage is that we don?t need to practice. Americans already thrive at all-you-can eat buffets, right?

n Shop-till-you-drop contest. Need I say more?

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