The Games of the XXXI Olympiad ended last night in Rio de Janeiro. While there were concerns about the Rio Games heading into the competition with worries stemming from low crowds to the inequality between the classes in the city, to the threat of Zika. But overall, I found these to be a fun Olympics to watch as a television spectator.
But that’s not to say that it can’t be improved! While there were two new events — rugby sevens and golf replaced baseball and softball — there are still a lot of ridiculous sports in the Olympics. We have some suggestions for new sports that could be added to the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Japan is already living in the future, so let’s get some future sports in there as well.
5 stars: Calvinball
Did you really expect anything else? Calvinball’s only rule is that it can’t be played the same way twice. Teams? Solo competition? Random implements? Use of disguises and other distractions? Scores of Q to 12? I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what is going on, and I wouldn’t care. I would watch the SHIT out of this.
Danny Rose: I didn’t write about Danny Rose in the match report, but I really, really should’ve. In my re-watch of the match, Danny stood out not only for his excellence on both defense and offense, but for being an absolute stone-cold killer. He deserved about eight yellow cards in that match, several of them in fouls against Andros Townsend, and didn’t pick up any. That’s some good football murderizin’.
4.75 stars: Ultimate Frisbee
Seriously now, I’m not sure why ultimate frisbee isn’t already in the Olympics. It’s the ultimate amateur athletic competition. It has more action than football, has more exciting plays than virtually any other sport out there, and it has a guaranteed base of good players since literally every college student plays ultimate at one time or another. Plus the Olympics would instantly be the highest possible competition for the sport, unlike, say, basketball or soccer. I can imagine USA and Japan battling for supremacy every four years.
Vincent Janssen: Boy, was Vincent fantastic against Palace. With his strength on the ball, he was able to not only create his own shots but dragged defenders out of position for Harry Kane. Normally, this is a five-star performance, however, dumb mistakes do matter. He gets docked a quarter star for that inexplicable miss on the breakaway. Regardless, he’s likely given Mauricio Pochettino a major selection headache ahead of Liverpool.
4.5 stars: Quidditch
Quidditch is the unquestioned top sport in the wizarding world, but there’s land-bound quidditch teams popping up on Muggle campuses all over America now. Seven players, six rings, four balls, and bats. It’s an international sport that would be an absolute hit with the kids. And of course, the Golden Snitch can easily be repurposed into a gold medal. Wingardium leviosa!
Kyle Walker: Walker was fantastic and could’ve been rated higher had he had an edge to his game like Rose. Solid in attack, he also didn’t leave Vertonghen and Alderweireld isolated behind him and did a very nice job containing Palace’s counterattacks. He was wonderful.
4 stars: Rocket League
Seriously, who doesn’t want to see this? Naturally it would require repealing the laws of physics, but even a dumbed down demolition derby version of soccer with cars would be amazing to watch. Add some nitro boosters to those cars and you’ve got a white-knuckle sport that has crossover appeal. Let’s implement this and ditch sailing.
Janby Alderweirtonghen: Another solid match from our central defensive duo. Vertonghen looked solid and stable and appears to have shed his rust, and Toby was fun with his mazy runs forward; he sometimes acted more like a defensive mid when Wanyama or Dier were not able to. Neither gave Palace’s attackers much of a sniff at goal.
Harry Kane: That was much better from Kane. The partnership with Janssen continues to pay dividends, and although he didn’t get on the scoresheet he had a number of good looks at the Palace goal. I’m not sure I like Kane at the #10 as much as someone like Dele Alli, but we know he CAN play there or as a support striker. Overall, it was a good shift, and as we know a slow start is probably nothing to worry about with Harry.
Victor Wanyama: The big issue with Victor between last week and this week was whether he could be more progressive with his passing. While most of his passing was still lateral, he got farther up the pitch than against Everton and was able to find attacking players with more regularity. His goal was well taken and deserved. A nice match.
3.5 stars: Mesoamerican ritual ball game
Forget badminton and tennis. Try a team sport featuring nine pound rubber balls hurled at frightening speeds towards fellow players and stone hoops. It’s a game that regularly included serious injury and sometimes involved ritual sacrifices. Makes rugby sevens look like croquet. Nobody’s sure what the rules are exactly, but it would be must-see TV.
Eric Dier: Nothing special here, just another solid, capable Eric Dier defensive performance. Nothing exceptional, nothing terrible. Just solid, and that’s just fine.
Dele Alli: As soon as Dele came into the match, the intensity of Spurs’ offense was ratcheted up a notch. With his first meaningful touch, he provided the ball that Janssen screwed up, and he looked a lot more comfortable against Palace than he did against Everton. Still think he could do better, but this was a good shift.
3 stars: Hunger Games
If you think about it, the Hunger Games is the most Olympian sport possible: 24 contestants, 12 of each gender, and no rules except survival (and whatever arbitrary rules are made up by the Gamemaster). It’s also the only potential Olympic sport that would conceivably reward use of intelligence over raw athletic ability, so come on down, nerds who desire Olympic gold. I suppose we can adjust it to eliminate the whole killing-your-competitors thing, but that’s sort of the point of this, isn’t it?
Michel Vorm: I mean, how do you really evaluate a match like this? He didn’t have much to do, his distribution was at times a little wonky (especially his kicking) but overall he did exactly what he needed to do to keep the clean sheet. Vorm was fine.
Erik Lamela: Erik Lamela was good on Saturday. Really! The problem is that he’s set the bar rather high for himself by some outstanding performances last year and in the preseason. He was phenomenal in his corner kick distribution, but his passing wasn’t anything to write home about, and he didn’t seem to be as active in the press as what I normally associate with his game. We’ll always have that nutmeg on Andros, though.
2 stars: Flonkerton
Thanks to The Office, the game of strapping paper boxes to your feet and shuffling forward as fast as you can is now an actual thing. It’s kind of dumb, but it makes more sense than equestrian sports or the trampoline.
Christian Eriksen: We’ve argued the question of whether Christian needs a break to death, but it’s pretty undeniable that he had a really, really bad game on Saturday. Lost in possession, wayward passing, and questionable decision making going forward. I’m not at all worried about him, but this was one of the worst performances I’ve seen from him... ever.
1 star: Beer Pong
We have ping-pong, so why not its frat house cousin? We already know most high level athletes are also experts at Olympic-level drinking (O HAI RYAN LOCHTE). This would just legitimize it, and award medals for whoever still has a functioning liver by the end of the Games.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Olympic-level beer pong.
Josh Onomah, Tom Carroll