Page 4 - Touchline Edition 39
P. 4

4                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5

               Editorial                                                                                                           THE JOURNAL OF SPORT,  LEISURE & RISK  WITH AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE        November 2023

                                                               countries and on three continents.
              The importance of team sports in                 The sport must also increase the
              American culture and building stronger   ‘‘value and appeal’’ of the Olympic
              bonds to professional leagues and                Games and retain and reflect its                                    Superbowl
              tours was stressed to IOC members                modern traditions. There are numerous
              before they voted for the new sports.            other rules, including bans on purely
              Yet the inclusion of five new sports             ‘‘mind sports’’ and sports dependent
              leaves the International Olympic                 on mechanical propulsion. These rules
              Committee with a potential problem:              have kept chess, motor racing, and                                  extravagant entertainment
              how it gets under its quota of 10,500            other recognised sports out of the
              athletes for each Games. Whilst                  Olympic Games.                                                      and football unpredictability
              Breaking (Break dancing) has not been
              chosen for LA, other sports considered  The IOC has worked to manage the                                              Tim Mottram, independent sports journalist
              under threat, including boxing,                  scope of the Olympics by permitting
              weightlifting and modern pentathlon,             new sports only with the removal of                                 There is something distinctly American about the Superbowl. The spectacle and
              are now considered safe.                         others. Sports that have already been                               consumerism, the drama and the expectation: it is a day when the Fourth of July
                                                               part of the Games are periodically                                  spirit is yoked to Thanksgiving as people gather around the country to watch one of
              It means that, if the Games is to stick          reviewed to determine whether they                                  the world’s greatest exhibitions of sport. In 2024, this most glitzy of competitions
              to that magic number of 10,500, more             should be retained.                                                 will take place in the most ostentatious of venues, Las Vegas. Set in the brand-new
              traditional sports will have to cut their                                                                            Allegiant Stadium, this is the first time that the Super Bowl is being staged in Nevada.
              number of medal events.                          While numerous events have been
                                                               added to the Games since their                                      While it might not be the oldest American         Each year, the announcement of the half-
              Boxing has been assured of being in              resumption in 1896, many have been                                  sports final, it is probably the most             time entertainer is eagerly anticipated,
              Los Angeles, but the sport is currently          sidelined. Tug-of-war was once a                                    famous. Started in 1967, it took a few years  with rumours and counter rumours circling
              without a governing body recognised              respected Olympic sport as were polo,                               of gear-grinding to gain the attention of         until the grand announcement. 2024 will
              by the IOC.                                      rackets, roque, and waterskiing but                                 the viewing public. By the 1970s, millions        see Usher take the stage, meaning that
                                                               these have been discontinued over the                               were tuning in, and by the 80s, the               he joins the ranks of Rihanna, Michael
              Since the original re-establishment              years, while cricket and lacrosse are                               advertisers realised that it could be milked      Jackson and Katy Perry as half-time
              of the Games in Athens in 1896, they             among the sports that were dropped                                  as a major platform for products.                 entertainers.
              have expanded from 241 to more                   but have now been reinstated.
              than 10,000 competitors. Dozens of                                                                                   The Super Bowl is renowned the world              But in the end it is the football that draws
              additions and changes have been                  The IOC need to continue this process                               over for not just the advertisements, but         the crowds and the world’s attention.
              made in the Olympic programme                    of renewal. It is vital that new sports                             for the show. The event has become a              American Football is a comparatively flat
              during that time, with almost 100                should be admitted to the Games to                                  cultural phenomenon, where the half-              competition where plenty of teams could
              events being added since 1980 alone.             keep the Games fresh, and maintain                                  time show and half-time adverts drip with         end up making it to Las Vegas, a fact that
              The Olympic Charter states that in               and increase the excitement and                                     celebrities.                                      keeps the fans engaged and the bookies
              order to be accepted, a sport must               interest in them for current and future                                                                               happy.
              be widely practiced by men in at least           generations.
              75 countries and on four continents,                                                                                                                                   The Kansas City Chiefs seem to be the
              and by women in no fewer than 40                                                                                                                                       team to beat and are heavily backed by
                                                                                                                                                                                     the odds. They have back-to-back titles,
                                                                                                                                                                                     a feat which has not been achieved since
                                                                                                                                                                                     the New England Patriots did it in 2004
               Yet the inclusion of five new sports leaves                                                                                                                           and 2005. In Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs
               the International Olympic Committee with a                                                                                                                            have a quarterback of rare talent. Since
                                                                                                                                                                                     emerging in 2018, he has helped his team
               potential problem: how it gets under its quota                                                                                                                        to two Super Bowl victories and helped

               of 10,500 athletes for each Games.                                                                                                                                    take them deep into the playoffs. Over
                                                                                                                                                                                     in Kansas, though, questions do remain.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Four-time Pro Bowl selection Chris Jones,

   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9