Level the Playing Field

Short Basketball Players

The long and the short

Day one of the Paralympics in London and it is already making for compulsive tv viewing. Well apart from the opening ceremony which was technically very good, if rather dull in content.

Having Ian MacKellen popping up all over the place as Prospero with Nicola Miles-Wildin as Miranda was all very well, but where were the gags?

But I mustn’t carp. At least we didn’t have all those speeches in French and the sport is more than making up for it in now that the luvvie stuff is over.

Many of the competitors impressed me, the Russian track cyclist Alexsey Obydennov to name just one. He lost his right arm and left hand climbing an electricity pole when he was younger so it is mind-boggling how he controls his bike from a standing start, let alone on the track.

The thing that fascinates me most though is the disability category system. Obviously it is designed to make it a level playing field for competitors with different disabilities and it made me wonder whether it is something the able-bodied Olympics should consider.

They do it already in events like boxing and weight-lifting with their different weight categories, but why not do it for all the events?

Take basketball for instance. If you’re not seven foot plus you’re not likely to make the national team which is really unfair on short people, so why not have different height categories, say under foot, five to six foot and then the rest.

The idea could be carried onto track and field with an overweight category, say twenty stone plus, for the high jump and long jump. After all, one of the aims of the games is to encourage participation and exercise for the obese.

The reverse of this would be to have lower weight categories in the power events. Anyone for the under eight stone shot put, hammer and discus?

The pole vault is also jolly unfair on anyone who suffers from vertigo and a way round this would be to limit the length of the pole to around four foot to level the playing field.

And how about introducing the doggie paddle for the less confident swimmer? Swimming breadths across the shallow end of course, better still with armbands.

I’ve only scratched the surface with this one and there must be other ways to make sport fairer. Like a road time trial for bikes with stabilisers for those who haven’t got their Cycling Proficiency Badge yet, or a rowing machine race for hydrophobics.

Get your ideas in now and we can put our proposals to Jacques Rogge.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • Jay from The Depp Effect 31st August 2012

    Hahahaha! You’re right, of course, about the inherent unfairness of sports like basketball. I’m sure there are hundreds of people who’d love to play competitively but are just too short. I do like your idea for pole vault. Even I might feel comfortable giving it a go at that height!

    Reply
  • Lord Sebastian Pudding 1st September 2012

    In many sports there is a correlation between socio-economic background and Olympic success so I propose that in rowing, council estate crews should be provided with outboard motors. American athletes’ fantastic diets should be replicated in Somalia and Mozambique for example – to iron out the unfair nutritional advantages gained by those who represent affluent nations. And there should be sprinting events for fat bastards and pregnant women. I have other ideas but I don’t think you’re ready to hear them.

    Reply
  • Francisca 1st September 2012

    Hahaha… fairness: big topic, that is… Let me know if you ever find it.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 1st September 2012

    You make some good points YP, especially the socio-economic issues, so I propose a chain of dressage centres in the inner-cities.

    Thinking about it, shouldn’t the Paralympics dressage event feature disabled horses? That comment has probably blown my chances of a Channel 4 gig.

    Reply

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