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Friday, August 15, 2008
Game on! Fishing should be an Olympic sport

By Kurt Snibbe
Special to Page 2

Editor's note: Throughout the Olympics, Page 2 writers will argue the merits of including various sports in the Games.

The time has come for fishing to be an Olympic sport. Not your average bass-fishing derby you might see on ESPN, but a fishing pentathlon held over five days to test a fisherman's all-around abilities. Here's my proposal: Individual anglers representing their nations will compete in the following disciplines: bass fishing, freshwater fly fishing, deep sea fishing (for big game fish), freshwater spin casting and, of course, noodling (bare hands, baby!).

Always a catch
There are many excuses for why fishing has been shunned by the Olympics, including the use of motorboats. We agree; no full-throttling will be allowed in the Olympics. You must row, sail, kayak, float tube or canoe to your spot. If you think this will put a damper on landing a huge marlin, go read Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea."

Massive appeal
Fishing is a worldwide sport. There are an estimated 40 million anglers in the United States alone. Fishing is one of our most ancient sports, dating back 40,000 years, and what do you think the athletes of the first Olympics in Greece did after they won? They went fishing.

Educational
Catch and release only. Also, for all the tons of fish eaten daily, very little education comes from it. This event will promote awareness of the harmful environmental effects of unregulated fishing and educate the masses on the importance of protecting the world's fish population. It should be an honor to hold this event before the world and show off your clean rivers and thriving natural resources.

Expanding the motto
Despite all the strategy and preparation needed for such a wide variety of angling, nature still will take its course. Therefore, the Olympic motto can be expanded to, "Faster, higher, stronger, luckier."