Solving the Olympics Except Maybe the Politics


Washington is the minor league of political machination. Triple A, maybe. If you want to play in the “bigs,” your choices are the Vatican, Beijing and the International Olympic Committee.

The I.O.C. just made several important decisions.

The 2020 summer games will happen in Tokyo because bubbling nuclear reactors are less threatening than clashes of civilizations (Istanbul) or depressions (Madrid).

Wrestling recovered from its February wrist slap to gain readmission by “x-gaming” its rules to become more TV friendly. Squash and baseball/softball remain out in the cold.

Thomas Bach, a German gold medalist fencer turned lawyer, succeeded Jacques Rogge as IOC Chairman, thus keeping the prize in Europe.

Larry Probst, head of the US Olympic Committee, was elected to the IOC Board signaling an agreement on who gets the lion’s share of US TV revenue.

Items remaining on the agenda include what to do about:

  • athletes who might try to embarrass host Russia this winter in Sochi by protesting anti-gay laws;
  • sports that would like to bathe in the five-ringed Olympic PR halo; and
  • the size of the summer and winter (especially summer) games that effectively limit the number of cities that can reasonably host the events.
  • taxpayers who have to pay for it.

Here is a plan that might solve these problems though perhaps not the politics.

  • Divide the games into four, one for each season. Winter, fall, summer, spring would create nine-month intervals between events and preserve the four-year intervals for each sport, but only if we add one more little wrinkle.
  • There are 15 sports – all distinctly chilly – in the winter games. Leave them alone.
  • There are 28 sports in the summer games and others that would like to be.
  • Reduce the summer games to 15 and move the other 13 to spring or fall, adding new ones as necessary to get to about 15 each season.
  • To spread the cost, allow countries or even regions to host the games.

I know, I know. Leaving out the politics means it will never happen, so here is the little wrinkle I mentioned earlier. In the second  year of each cycle (between the winter and fall games to avoid having them both in one calendar year) host an Olympics devoted solely to politics to enable the I.O.C. members to showcase their real talents. Give medals and everything.

What do you think? Would you like to suggest some skills for the political games?