5 Sports That Should Be in the Summer Olympics

Wrestling’s out. Here’s what should be in.

After nearly 2800 years, wrestling is no longer an Olympic sport. Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee dropped wrestling for the 2020 Olympics. This was shocking, as modern pentathlon was the sport expected to be in most jeopardy, and how can you have the Olympics without wrestling? The purest forms of measuring athleticism are track and field (“athletics” as the rest of the world calls it), weightlifting and wrestling. What could be more simple? Running, jumping, lifting, throwing, wrestling. Who’s the most athletic of these men and women? Let them wrestle to find out!

Wrestling, of course, was also one of the major events of the ancient Olympic Games, which our current Coke- and Visa-slathered games draw inspiration from. It seems the disciples of the pentathlon did quite a bit of lobbying to the IOC, and also coincidentally the ex-IOC president’s son is the VP of the modern pentathlon union.

But, alas! No more wrestling, either freestyle or Greco-Roman, will be in the Olympics. Wrestling will now compete alongside baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu for one final spot in the 2020 Olympics, to be held in either Tokyo, Madrid or Istanbul. It’s unlikely the Olympics would accept a sport it just kicked out back into the 2020 games, so Rio 2016 will be the last time you’ll get to see it at the Olympic level.

My guess is wushu, popular in China, will be the last sport added to the 2020 games. But who knows! If wrestling can be removed from the Olympics, literally anything is possible. Here are five sports I’d like to see in the Olympics.

1. Muay Thai


Photo by buzzthrill, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Pros: it’s like boxing, only you can kick and elbow and knee and hit guys with your shins; since it’s similar to boxing there’s already a venue available; a lot of fighters have sweet tattoos; sport’s legends have awesome names like Coban Lookchaomaesaitong; sport is awesome as all heck
Cons: it’s like boxing, which is corrupt as heck in the Olympics
Is There Already an Organizing Body? Yes, International Federation of Muaythai Amateur
Will Drug Testing Be a Problem: According to this forum thread, the top Muay Thai fights involve drug testing

If the Olympics is getting rid of a combat sport like wrestling, it only makes sense to bring in another one, and what’s better than a sport that’s like boxing and MMA but without most of the boring parts. The rules are kind of complicated, but who cares if you don’t really understand the rules when two people are punching, kicking and elbowing each other in the middle of the ring.

2. Unicycle hockey

Photo by Julian Orbach, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license

Pros: similar to several other codes of hockey, a sport most people already know in some form; literally impossible-looking to play, like many other Olympic sports; played on unicycles
Cons: a type of hockey people already play (field) is in the Olympics; played on unicycles
Is There Already an Organizing Body? Yes, the International Unicycling Federation publishes rules for all unicycling sports
Will Drug Testing Be a Problem: You’d think you would have to be high to play this, but how would anyone even the slightest-bit impaired be able to ride a unicycle?

Many of our greatest Olympic sports feature things even top-level amateur athletes could not do. If I attempted the hammer throw, I would be dead within three tries. I’d last five minutes in water polo. Even the event called racewalking is incredibly hard. Unicycle hockey seems just as impossible as a bunch of other Olympic sports. It would fit right in.

3. Go-kart racing

Pros: there are already a bunch of events where athletes race around, so riding around on little go-karts would fit right in; go-karts are pretty cool; they could hold this Olympic event on a pier over the ocean
Cons: noxious fumes from go-karts could sicken spectators, but I guess NASCAR fans deal with it; Olympics could be delayed by go-kart operator smoke breaks
Is There Already an Organizing Body? Um, Wikipedia lists 10
Will Drug Testing Be a Problem: Maybe?

If possible, Olympic go-kart racing will be as close to Mario Kart as possible, with little items competitors can pick up on the ground and turtle shells flying all over. We probably have the technology for that, right?

4. Tug of war


Photo by Travis Sanders, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Pros: a previous Olympic sport from 1904 to 1920, everyone knows how to play; could be played anywhere, from the middle of the street to the middle of an arena
Cons: someone could lose an arm
Is There Already an Organizing Body? Yes, Tug of War International Federation
Will Drug Testing Be a Problem: This is a sport where you can lose your fingers or even your arms. It has to take serious drugs to play. So, maybe.

The early Olympics were kind of ridiculous, and by that I mean “really ridiculous.” The 1904 Olympics were a sideshow of the World’s Fair and the initial winner of the marathon was given strychnine and brandy during the race. But they clearly got something right, putting tug of war into the Games. Want to know how awesome tug of war is? Let me quote from the Wikipedia page:

The origins of tug of war are uncertain, but it is beyond dispute that this once royal sport was practiced in ancient Egypt and China, where it was held in legend that the Sun and Moon played Tug of War over the light and darkness. It is also widely believed the sport was made popular in Great Britain by Lord Elliott Simpson, in the 16th Century. Simpson was a keen tugger.

This would be a keen sport to get into the Olympics.

5. Rock Paper Scissors


Photo by Michael Whitney, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Pros: needs very little space; everyone already knows how to play; “athletes” can drink alcohol while they play; opportunities for cheerleaders and other in-game entertainment; no concussions; Philadelphia would likely be well-represented
Cons: None, best I can tell
Is There Already an Organizing Body? Yes, World RPS Society
Will Drug Testing Be a Problem: Do they test for alcohol?

The Olympics are full of events performed by superhuman monsters who could snap me in two if they wanted to. Literally every pole vaulter in the world is also a gorgeous fitness model. Occasionally a slightly out-of-shape person will make it in the shooting events, but who has that kind of hand-eye coordination? The Olympics need a sport that your average slob can envision getting of his or her couch and winning a gold medal later that day. The Olympics demand RPS.