As you know, we here at GoobNet love sport. We love it so much that we feel obligated to protect it from those who would wreck it, such as the International Olympic Committee. Seriously, eradicating baseball and softball? And gymnastics remain?
But no event is more detrimental to the Olympics than the modern pentathlon. In 1896, soldiers may have required a combination of shooting, fencing, swimming, horsing, and running skills. But this is 2008, and today’s soldiers require the skills of driving Humvees, operating heavy machinery, disarming IEDs, discerning children paid by insurgents to set bombs from children who set bombs for their own enjoyment, and winning hearts and minds.
Though fleets of immense Olympic Humvees driving around the streets of Beijing would have been hilariously exciting, this particular combination of events would not be suitable for Olympic competition, except, of course, for the winning hearts and minds part. It could, after all, be scored by the same judges who score gymnastics.
But what events should occur in the the present day pentathlon? In fact, there are a number of possibilities, according to our very own think tank, the GoobNet Special Projects Enhancement and Enforcement Division [SPEED]. All five members have proposed a type of pentathlon, making this a pentathlon of pentathlons, if you will.
This event requires that the same players compete in five different team sports. Futsal [five player football on a small pitch] would be played, whilst all other sports would be played in the same fashion as their corresponding Olympic events. All of these sports have between five and seven players per team; hence, in an effort to discourage teams from selecting specialists in particular sports, five players on the team must play at least half of each match played by that team.
In both the men’s and women’s team pentathlon events, the competition format would be a group of six teams. Each team plays one game of each sport, for a total of one match in each sport against each team, drawn randomly. For example, if the teams involved are the United States, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Japan, and Australia, the schedule might look as follows:
United States - Brazil [water polo]
Germany - Italy [water polo]
Australia - Japan [water polo]
United States - Australia [volleyball]
Italy - Brazil [volleyball]
Germany - Japan [volleyball]
Japan - United States [handball]
Australia - Italy [handball]
Brazil - Germany [handball]
Brazil - Japan [basketball]
Italy - United States [basketball]
Germany - Australia [basketball]
United States - Germany [futsal]
Japan - Italy [futsal]
Australia - Brazil [futsal]
All sports other than water polo could use the same venue. All matches would require a winner, so that handball and futsal matches that are tied at full time must go to overtime and shootouts as needed. The team that wins the most matches is the overall winner. Ties between two teams are broken by the head to head result. Ties involving three or more teams are broken by a criterion that we’ll figure out later. It will probably have to do with the margins of victory.
Preliminary groups could be used in the event that more than six teams are desired in the Olympic tournament. For example, if there are twelve teams, they could play in two preliminary groups, with the top three in each group advancing to the final group.
This competition would combine five athletic competitions that are scored by judges. The dressage is carried over from the Olympic equestrian events, and the artistic and rhythmic portions are carried over from Olympic gymnastics. Finally, two competitions new to the Olympics would be added: freestyle BMX and trick skateboarding, which would take place on the same halfpipe.
The benefit of this event is that it would be funny to see a tiny gymnast do a 720 on a skateboard, or to see the world’s top BMX cyclist eliminated from the competition because he overused the inside rein on a 20 metre circle in the dressage.
As with the current modern pentathlon, the combat pentathlon makes use of five disciplines that are already Olympic sports. The competition in each discipline would be round robin format, much like fencing in the existing modern pentathlon. The competitor who wins the most total bouts wins the tournament.
The synchronised swimming and synchronised diving are already Olympic competitions, and the others are entirely new competitions. Haven’t you always wondered whether two Chinese athletes can make horses trot together as well as they can execute reverse tucks? Or whether two Belarussian swimmers can lift 100 kg each with the same precise timing as the crane position?
Synchronised equestrian is much like the dressage, but with two horses in the same riding arena executing corresponding maneuvers simultaneously. In synchronised archery, the teammates shoot at the same target, with points scored for timing of arrow release, proximity of the arrows to one another, and proximity of the arrows to the bullseye. In synchronised weightlifting, both teammates must, of course, lift the same weight at the same time.
These events are not currently part of the Olympic programme, but all are recognised by the IOC. Golf, in particular, was an Olympic sport in 1900 and 1904.
We may also have a team non-Olympic pentathlon comprised of baseball or softball, rugby, cricket, American football, and roller hockey.
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