Commentary

Olympic Games just getting started

Originally Published: March 1, 2010
By Jim Caple | Page 2

TO: INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE MEMBERS

FROM: IOC PRESIDENT JACQUES ROGGE

RE: EXCITING NEW OLYMPIC VENTURE

My esteemed colleagues and fellow sportsmen:

First, congratulations and gold medals all around for another superb Olympics. The Games of Vancouver were a spectacular success and will live forever in our hearts. (But could someone please tell me where I can get a pair of those red mittens?)

Next, as I watched the Olympic flag being taken out of the stadium and the cauldron being extinguished, I began thinking about the daunting time gap until the 2012 Summer Games in London and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. I was growing sad until something suddenly occurred to me: There are two years out of every four that do not have an Olympics, and there are two seasons out of the four that do not have an Olympics. A lightbulb went on in my head.

Madames et monsieurs, in the spirit of our founding father, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, I bring you ... the Spring Olympics and the Autumn Olympics.

Wait. Hear me out.

The Spring and Autumn Games would allow us to significantly increase broadcast revenues during a time when our sponsorships are down. We could spread the Olympic brand to oil-rich cities in the Middle East that are too hot to host either the Summer or Winter Olympics. (Plus, think of the additional city bid tours.) We also could bring more sports into the Olympic family. Spring would be an ideal fit for baseball (I believe Derek Jeter is busy almost every autumn), and we could add cricket and American football. We would then fill out the lineup with other sports not currently represented, hybrids of winter and summer sports and entirely new competitions.

Some ideas:

Beach hockey: Cashes in on the NHL's extraordinarily successful Winter Classic by taking the sport outside ... and then going one step further by combining the power and brutality of hockey with the sex appeal of beach volleyball. Pro: No expensive ice sheets to maintain. Cons: Skates may not work in the sand. Speedos.

Medium-track speedskating: Combines the poetry and rhythm of traditional long-track with the chaos and capricious nature of short-track. Skaters race side by side in set, specific lanes, and after they cross the finish line, we flip a coin to determine the winner. (Or do they do this in short-track already?)

Leaf jump: Summer Olympians test their skills by seeing who can jump the highest and the farthest. Autumn Olympians would test their ability and bravery by seeing from how high out of a tree they can jump down into a pile of leaves beneath them. Swifter, Lower, Faster. We also would challenge athletes to see how many leaves they can disperse by running up and leaping into the pile.

Miniature golf: Pros: Already popular. And just imagine the spectacular course designs as host countries attempt to display their culture. Con: Unacceptable cost overruns when Lima, Peru, duplicates Machu Picchu for Hole 17.

Slalom swimming: Rather than swimming in straight lanes that have been marked off, spring athletes would have to navigate obstacles in chilly rivers cluttered with debris from spring runoff.

Two-man pumpkin carving, four-man apple bobbing, pairs leaf blowing: Admittedly, these sports need fleshing out.

Please keep this confidential until we have fleshed the plan out further. But let's also get together quickly to discuss so we can turn this into a reality as soon as possible. To speed the process, we can use the infrastructure in place from past Olympic host cities. For instance, based on our recent experience here, we could hold the Spring Games in Vancouver next January.

Yours in sport.

Jacques Rogge

P.S. Can someone in legal look into suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association over the use of the term "March Madness"?

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter at jimcaple.

Back to Page 2

• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com