But after watching a good chunk (see: not much) of this dynamic 2012 Olympics in London, England, I believe it’s safe to say without much pushback (other than from those who participate in this event or their families) is that Synchronized Swimming is without-a-doubt the dumbest “sport” in the history of mankind—and easily the silliest activity, just edging out yodeling contests in terms of sheer absurdity.
And it’s not even close. There have been dumb things in the world like the Pet Rock and Kevin Federline’s career, but as a sport, activity or even as a recreation, Synchronized Swimming is truly absurd.
It’s vogue dancing in a pool. It’s arm-pointing while treading water. I don’t see the merit in the event at all. I see that it takes timing, skill and obvious athletic ability. I tread water in the deep-end of a pool for 5 minutes and I’m exhausted. But calling this an Olympics-worthy event is insulting.
For a century, the Olympic committee has been eliminating, revamping and adding events to meet the tastes and skill sets of the people and the times. Handball is a newer event that is really quite exciting and fun to watch. It’s beginning to take off as a spectator sport and is popular in northern Europe and in parts of Canada and the U.S.
Even the Winter Olympic event Curling seems more conducive to showing an actual skill. In a large portion of events in both the Winter and Summer games, the judging is based on multiple levels, many of which are artistic interpretation. figure-skating, diving, floor gymnastics—many of these have style points which can be viewed only with a keen pair of eyes and from trained professionals who see tiny infractions the rest of us don’t.
So if you’re like me and see a few women in a pool splashing around, noses plugged tightly and jutting their arms out like pro wrestlers after a tomahawk body-slam, then you’re not seeing what about eight trained professional judges see—miniscule idiosyncrasies that can mean going home in tears, or standing on a box with a gold medal in your hand.
Events like this have some flaws in the judging system. Whoever jumps the longest in the long jump wins. The person with the fastest backstroke time wins. The results aren’t arguable by any stretch. Even with events like the floor routine in gymnastics, the common person can tell the difference between a great and an outstanding performance. But Synchronized Swimming? Only a handful of experts know for sure what the hell is going on.
The Synchronized Swimming event is an all women’s event. The only other event that is exclusive only to women is Rhythmic Dancing. But in most cases there’s a counterpart to Men’s and Women’s events. The Decathlon has the Heptathlon. Women now have a boxing event. Where is the counter to the Synchronized Swimming? Can’t the men have a cannonball contest? That’s pretty easy to judge. Biggest splash wins. Maybe they can have a girl in a bikini by the side of the pool and the cannonballer who gets the most water on her wins the event. She can hold a magazine and everything.
There are probably a few more Olympic events that could get the ax, but none of them have produced the forehead-slapping confusion I get watching Synchronized Swimming. I feel way too many events revolve around the pool anyway. I mean, how many medals do the give out for swimming? 5,000? I feel like there are medals given out for every meter they stretch the swimming distance. I’m surprised they don’t have a “who can dive the furthest” medal.
I believe it’s time to update some of the Olympic events. How about log tossing or Rock, Paper, Scissors? Even Chess would be more interesting. OK, maybe not more interesting, but certainly less goofy.
Anyway, we have four years to contemplate this before we go to Brazil. See you at the public pool!