Tom Ross: Anyone for international dodgeball? |

Tom Ross: Anyone for international dodgeball?

Did you notice all the empty seats at the Olympic sports venues during the weekend? Clearly, something is out of whack. The International Olympic Committee needs to add some new sports to the Summer Olympics to spark things up.

If badminton, archery, rhythmic gymnastics and table tennis have to go to make room for some new blood, so be it. Because if the IOC fails to do something before the next Olympiad comes around in Beijing in August 2008, the X-Games will be bigger than Mount Olympus. I have it from reliable sources that after the success of the recent Ben Stiller movie, Olympic officials are seriously considering making dodgeball an official sport. Can you imagine the matchup between North and South Korea?

Here’s a short list of other sports we think might resuscitate the modern Olympics:

Because the next Olympiad will be in China, I would support adding Chinese checkers to the roster of sports. But not the Chinese checkers you’re familiar with. I’m thinking of a cross between Chinese checkers and “Fear Factor.” Use your imagination.

I know that Rulon Gardner is a Rocky Mountain hero, and the addition of women’s wrestling this summer should spice things up. However, as much as I enjoy high school wrestling, Greco-Roman style wrestling is darn near impossible to understand. Because the next summer games will be in China, why not panda bear wrestling — as in Gardner versus a bear? Poker was a smash hit on television this summer, and I’m thinking it could translate well to the Olympics. From what I was able to learn by watching last week’s opening ceremonies in Athens, the ancient Greeks would have played strip poker. That’s a card game that certainly would discourage cheating ( it’s hard to stash an ace up your sleeve when you don’t have a sleeve). Clearly though, after the Super Bowl, we know strip poker isn’t gonna fly. So I’d suggest sticking to Texas hold ’em, and being content with the knowledge that human growth hormones and steroids don’t offer any significant advantage in card games.

There has to be a way to make the aquatic sports more appealing. I was a competitive swimmer in my youth and I have to say I marveled Saturday night at how smooth Michael Phelps’ butterfly technique is. But for most folks watching at home, the spectacle of seeing lean athletes splash back and forth in a 50-meter pool must get a little monotonous even with the view from the spectacular underwater camera that moves along with the swimmers. Fortunately, I have a remedy. Our neighborhood pool in Wisconsin always had an aquatic carnival night every summer. My favorite event was the “Goldfish and Penny Scramble.” Everyone was ordered out of the pool while the lifeguards scattered buckets of pennies into the pool. Finally, they released about a dozen goldfish into the water. If you could catch a goldfish before it succumbed to the chlorine, you could take it home in a jar. But I always made a dash for the cash, sometimes scooping up as much as 63 cents.

Heck, I bet if you threw enough euros into the Olympic pool in Athens, you’d see more action than in any 10 Olympic swimming relays. Now that Americans no longer can hit 20-foot jump shots, what this country really needs is a Summer Olympic event we can truly dominate on the way to building the medal count — like rodeo.

I want to see how quickly our friends from other continents can catch on to bull riding and mixed pair team roping.

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