Now don't get me wrong, I've been following and cheering for the gymnastics and swimming teams and all the other stuff that no one pays attention to except for every four years during the Olympics. But I do have some questions - - like how come in swimming it seems like there's a race for every possible permutation of events: 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 400m backstroke, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 400m butterfly, 800m butterfly, the various medleys of strokes combined, freestyles - which all just look like normal going forward to me (I thought 'freestyle' should be more haphazard) - then ten different relay races. And EACH of these bastards has a GOLD medal hanging on someone at the end of them.
In gymnastics, on the other hand, you have to do something like forty different skills - the highbar, the lowbar, the uneven parallel bars, the balance beam, the vault, the vice, the rings, hoops, loops, and floor exercise (which sounds easier than the crazy jumping around it is they end up doing - oh and by the way the men should get to have music just like the ladies methinks). These 'apparatuses' are sometimes accompanied by additional accoutrements like balls and mini-bowling pins or scarves with which you have to run around to increase the artiness of the whole affair.
You're judged on how correctly you did what you did even though everyone does something different, and with what grace and poise and composure and in the end if you smile wrong during the triple-squeegee-half-cocked-undertuck dismount everyone will gasp and you will most definitely put your whole life's work into jeopardy. And after all of this you could possibly squeeze out a Gold Medal....maybe....if what you chose to do for each of these grueling exercises had a high enough starting difficulty rating according to the fat guy from Moldova sitting with a laptop looking up at you deducting points, and you were Russian at one point in your life and the judge from Belarus doesn't take umbrage at that.
So in my opinion, the fact that this one overly glorified swimmer (who will remain unnamed) is awarded ninety-three shiny gold medals for doing basically the same stinkin' thing in every possible way in eleven seconds flat should give us pause to rethink some concepts regarding the swimming competitions in general. Here are some ideas:
1. No lanes - you have to fight your way across the pool....oh and if it's 1000m it's an 1000m pool - no more swimming back and forth endlessly.
2. Obstacles - nothing dangerous like a pointy water mine or an explosive, maybe just some schools of fish in the pool that go around randomly darting.
3. If it's a relay race, then they have to get the hell out of the pool, hand a stick or whatever to the next guy and then go - that's a relay.
4. Do it like baseball - 162 warm-up competitions, some playoffs, and ONE medal at the end for jumping in a pool and swimming straight and fast.
5. Everyone can swim individually across the length of the pool doing whatever-the-hell strokes and take as long as you want. Wear interesting clothing with glitter and a mandatory 80s era scrunchy. When you get to the other end look up at the monitor...you will be JUDGED!