September 19, 1988 12:00 PM

The hit of the 1984 Olympics was, of course, synchronized swimming. This year brings more new sports to the Games: badminton, women’s judo, tae kwon do and bowling.


When I was a kid, I used to despise getting haircuts—not just because it was the ’60s and we weren’t supposed to get our hair cut, but also because I worried that the barber would want to talk baseball. I wouldn’t be able to keep up my end of the conversation, and the barber would discover that I was really a commie spy. That’s why I love the Olympics. With so many sports and so many fresh faces, it is almost impossible to be an expert on all of them and to show off that expertise with meaningless, tedious sports chatter in barber-shops. And that’s why I want even more obscure sports in the Olympics—the kind of things you see on ESPN. Mind you, ESPN shows lots of real sports—football, basketball, baseball, golf. But to fill the odd time slot and satisfy the odd group of loyal fans, ESPN also gives us lots of crazy sports. Here are my Top 10 Weird Sports—the events I want to see in the next Olympics:

1. Monster trucks: Huge trucks with huge tires run and hop over derelict cars, while crowds in T-shirts and tattoos scream their appreciation. This is America and that’s why we love it.

2. Mud racing: Huge cars with huge tires and huge engines run through three or more feet of mud for the same appreciative crowd. Before commercials, the announcer promises, “We’ll be back with more mud!”

3. Australian-rules football: Real men. Real sweat.

4. Women’s beach volleyball: No, I don’t watch for the bathing suits. This really is a killer sport.

5. Show skiing: People in costumes make pyramids on water skis. Hey, it’s no sillier than synchronized swimming.

6. Fishing: Guys with Pat Robertson accents stand in water in big boots and chat and chortle. This has to be the dullest sport to televise, and that’s just what makes it amazing to see. This is the home shopping of sports.

7. Body building: Imagine what Eastern Bloc pharmaceutical science could do here.

8. Drag racing: The most Freudian of all sports (except, perhaps, baseball).

9. Surfing: Almost as tedious as fishing.

10. Billiards: Finally, a sport played in tuxedos. Finally, a sport without sweat.

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