Swimming competitions are by far the most befuddling ones in the Olympics. Imagine a series of running events, of same distance, but requiring different running styles. This isn’t inspired against the success of Michael Phelps in swimming with a bunch of medals, and being called the greatest Olympian. His achievement is monumental. But what if? What if running was more like swimming?
Not to belittle the talent required to take on such complex swimming strokes; I can only manage a backstroke in still water in a quiet swimming pool. If you take a spoon and start to stir the pool I’ll probably start gurgling water, and flapping my arms to stay afloat with a combination of doggy paddle and backstroke.
Anyways, looking at swimming events, and applying the same logic to track events, you can have a wealth of colourful running competitions which would make for TV ratings going through the roof.
Buddies who gather with beer kegs and watch WWE would switch over to this in a instant. Whooping and hollering at every instance of comedy, and this race is sure to be full of them. You can come up with a drinking game. Down a shot every time a runner bumps into another. Down another everytime there’s a lane violation. Possibilities are endless. Here are some suggestions for running events I hereby submit to the IOC:
Backward Running - Test the precipocation of our athletes, see if the third eye at the back of their heads is as good as the two in front. Chati indriyo ki pariksha! (Test of Sixth Sense).Think of the possible lane violations that can happen when a bunch of athletes are trying to take the curves on the tracks. And if the race is more than 800 meters, imagine all the runners trying to run backwards in the inside lane. While running backwards you can also take the time to talk to your fellow runners, unlike a straight forward race when you are all looking straight ahead. Maybe you’ll need to signal that you are overtaking another.
The best part would be watching the runner sprint ahead, (or is it back?), and hoping and praying that there’s no other runner with whom there might be a collision. Reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in their heads, prying they don’t fall like dominoes in a stampede:
“Jai Hanuman Gyan Gun Sagar,
bacha mujhe banne se papad.
Raam doot atulit bal dhama,
mujhko aundhe muh girne se bachana.”
You could have a camera angle following them from behind, watching them perspire with terrified expressions, wondering whom they are about to bump into while running blind.
Cartwheel somersault handsprings – Hey, if you can have a butterfly stroke, and a breast stroke, why not a cartwheel somersault race? Its a perfect test of speed, agility and flexibility. Somersaults on the straight tracks, alternating with handsprings and cartwheels on the curves. The whole premise of doing cartwheels in Gymnastics where you are judged by judges, is flawed. Its more practical to judge a cartwheel by some other attribute than its looks. Let’s see who can cartwheel faster, and spin around accurately in the curved part of the track. And for the straight stretch, watch them do somersaults and handsprings alternately.
This can even tie in with the drinking game. See who hurls up first, one of the runners going through all the twists and turns of a cartwheel, or one of your buddies downing a shot. Usain Bolt would probably win a whole lot more medals, and finally finish a race without slowing down at the end.. hopefully!