olympic war games

Right now there are six so-called “major conflicts” going on in the world, not to mention the 27 or so smaller-scale armed conflicts happening from Burma to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Hundreds of years ago in Ireland, warring kings would not send their whole army into battle. They would choose their champion and send him to fight the other side’s champion to the death. Whilst seemingly barbaric, it saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of men.

With the Olympic Games on our screens day and night (I am watching the men’s rings final as we speak) I had a thought: why not go back to the days of old, and replace all wars with Olympic Battles?

Most of these competitions are sensational to watch. I have held my breath over synchronised ten-metre diving, the men’s bicycle time trials, the women’s marathon and the men’s 1500 metre freestyle. It occurred to me that this would be a sensible way to resolve conflicts. Why not fight it out in the ring or on the track?

So I have come up with my own Olympic War Games, probably adjudicated by the UN or something. I have left out all sports which require judging, such as diving or the so-called artistic gymnastics. Really, how did dancing with a long ribbon make it as an Olympic sport?

I have focused on sports related to old war skills, like the javelin, discus and sprints of the decathlon, or archery. Some proper martial arts such as judo and boxing could not be excluded. 

Then I added a few feats of endurance and battle spirit like the marathon. I had to include something from the velodrome – perhaps a time trial or a point race – because they all have a sense of Mad Max or John McClean (of Die Hard fame) about them.

I have included one team sport because I feel I have to, and I have chosen soccer because it is reputedly the most popular team sport in the world.

And just to confuse things, there should be a wild-card sport added to spice things up. Maybe synchronised swimming, or beach volleyball (with added points for how hot your team looks in their uniform), or table tennis. This could be nominated by the UN or whoever, perhaps in some sort of randomly generated fashion like hurricane names.

1. Archery

2. Boxing

3. Fencing

4. Judo

5. Decathlon

6. Marathon

7. 200m freestyle

8. Something velodrome-ish (points race or time trial maybe)

9. Soccer (just to have one team sport in there)

10. A wild card sport nominated by third party or randomly generated like a hurricane name

What do you think? Have I left an obvious one out? Do you have any thoughts on how we choose the winner?


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