olympic snore

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Is it just me or are there other sports lovers out there who are bored stiff with the Olympic Games currently on the go in Beijing, China.

Don't get me wrong, I love my sport. I can't remember how many times I've sat until the wee hours of the morning waiting for a boxing event in the US to take place. Or Test match cricket where I can remain glued to the screen for the full five days - nonstop!

But these Olympics, eish, they seem to be taking for ever.

Maybe I'm just jealous because countries like Togo, Zimbabwe and Tajikistan (wherever that is) have received more medals than we have.

But after careful consideration I've decided it's not jealousy but a combination of sporting events that, in my opinion, shouldn't even be there, and the length of time it takes for the finals to eventually take place.

Take for example swimming.

Michael Phelps from the US will, by the time these Olympics end on August 24, go down in history as the greatest Olympian ever. Setting himself a personal goal of eight gold medals, this freak of a swimmer is well on track to achieving this incredible feat.

Now that's where the problem lies.

He just has to rock up at the National Aquatics Centre and his opposition turn into nervous wrecks.

One of his events, the 200m freestyle, had an incredible nine heats before the semifinalists were decided.

The first heat featured Nicolini Emanuele from San Marino. Poor old Nicolini was so slow I was expecting him to raise his arm in distress so a lifeguard could dive in and save him.

A quick dash to the loo and before I knew it I was back in my favourite chair for the final.

Problem was the race was over and Phelps was on the podium with another medal around his neck and USA's national anthem blaring out once more. The point? Just give Phelps the gold medal and save us the time!

Phelps' joy at being part of the winning 4x100 freestyle medley team was visible to all. Contrast this with South Africa's so-called "Awesome Foursome" who finished a disappointing seventh.

When asked about their poor showing, our local heroes were reported as saying they were happy with their performances. Happy! I couldn't believe my ears! Do you think Phelps would be happy with seventh place?

Surely there must also be a question mark over some of the sports included as well.

Now mountain biking may be a nice Sunday afternoon pastime, but an Olympic event? Same goes for beach volleyball. Apart from adding a bit of eye-candy for viewers, does it really add value to what is meant to be the ultimate in sporting events.

The same goes for handball, synchronised swimming and trampoline.

For heavens sake, what's next, pancake tossing and tiddlywinks!

Talk doing the rounds is that cricket will be included in the 2020 Olympic Games. Please, no! Already we have a cricket world cup, the ICC champions trophy, a T20 world cup plus any number of tours throughout the year.

Do we really need to sit through cricket at the Olympics as well? Hopefully not.

Keep the Olympics for the sports they were originally designed for.