When did the Olympics start? I think it was a few weeks back but it’s starting to feel like months.

I have to admit that I watched a fair bit of the opening ceremony but since then I’ve just seen updates in my news feeds or on telly. I’ve never been a big Olympic Games watcher but I think I’ve seen less than ever this time around and I think I know why.

The format is tired.

Yes, there have been new sports added over the years and some older, less interesting sports removed, but it’s essentially been the same for such a long time.

The ancient Olympic Games were held from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. After that the idea was pretty much rested until Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. Sure, there were a few attempts at reviving some sort of games related to an Olympic theme along the way but they didn’t really come to much.

I reckon it’s time to freshen things up. Let’s create a mashup of the Olympics and MasterChef.

MasterAthlete. I think it’s got a great ring to it and the possibilities are endless.

We’d start with three judges including two professional athletes and an acclaimed sports writer. Then hundreds of amateur athletes would battle it out for the honour of becoming MasterAthlete 2016. The MasterAthlete would win $250 000 and the opportunity to train alongside some of the greatest professional athletes in the world. They’d also be given a monthly column in Muscle & Fitness Magazine.

Contestants would talk endlessly about their ‘sports dream’ and about ‘doing this for their family’ (even though the competition would mean they’d have to be away from their family for several months). They’d talk about the pressure and just how far they’d come on their personal ‘athlete journey’.

Week by week the black active wear would come out as contestants fought to stay in the competition during the elimination rounds. The very best would be dressed in white active wear and compete against a professional athlete for an immunity pin which would entitle them to a generous head start in their next race.

The mystery box would bring added excitement as the athletes would have no idea what sport they’d have to compete in until the box is lifted. “When the lid came off and I saw the speedos, I was terrified. My specialty is weight lifting, so to know that I’d have to go up against the others in the pool really set my heart racing.”

We’d shed a few tears as our favourites left the competition because they’d left an element out of the triathlon. “It wasn’t until we got to the finish line that I looked around at the other contestants in their clip cloppy shoes and realised …… I’d forgotten to do the cycle leg”.

Imagine contestants arriving in the Master Athlete stadium to hear the judges tell them that they had to go from one side of the city to the other. “You’ve got an open sports locker. Get there any way you like. You can combine swimming, cycling, jogging or canoeing, but remember that in today’s challenge, running must be the hero of the event. Your time starts …… now”.

So there’s the basic concept but I think we need to push it just a little further. What other ways can you think of to create MasterAthlete? Let me know in the comments section of this post. I think we’re onto a real winner.

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What's your greatest sporting moment?

BeijingOlympics.jpgThe opening ceremony is in full swing and Olympic Games for 2008 are finally underway.

In the coming days the best of the best will be representing their countries and competing for gold.

I must admit that I’ve never really been a competitive sports person. I’ve won a sprint or two against friends during our casual Saturday morning bike ride but I don’t think that counts. I’ve certainly cycled long distances including five times across Australia as well as a couple of cycling trips in India and one in Canada, but I wasn’t actually competing against the other cyclists who rode with me.

I’ve also played a bit of squash over the years and even though I’m not great, when I play, I do play to win. (Not that I’m always successful in my endeavours.)

Have you ever been involved in competitive sports? Do you have medals and trophies from your younger years? What is your greatest sporting moment?

I reckon the closest I ever got to sporting greatness was getting a green ribbon for third place in the sack race back at Wembley Downs Primary School when I was in about grade one or two.

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A Special Day for Getting Married

weddingcake.jpgI’ve heard that there’ll be a big spike in the number of marriages taking place tomorrow, especially in China.

A lot of couples think that the 8th of the 8th, 2008 is a significant date and so they want to tie the knot on that day. Some think that it’s a lucky date and I’m sure that many think it’s romantic to be married on such a unique date.

I reckon a big reason for choosing that date is that the guys want to make sure that they don’t forget their anniversary in the years to come. They figure that if they choose a significant date like that they’ll be less likely to forget that special day each year and it’ll help them remember how many years they’ve been married too.

I’ve heard of people forgetting their anniversary and it’s not a good idea. I look forward to my anniversary each year and so I can’t imagine that I’ll ever forget. Mind you, we got married on the 12th of the 12th, 1992 so that helps a bit.

I dread to think what might happen to any of those guys getting married tomorrow, on such a special day, if they still forget their anniversary.

What are you like at remembering special dates? Have you ever forgotten an anniversary and lived to tell the tale? Has you spouse forgotten your anniversary? Do have any special way of remembering dates?

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The Silent Salute

Salute.jpgIt’s one of the most powerful images of our time.

The photo shows Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the gold and bronze medalists in the men’s 200 metre race at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympic Games, taking their places on the podium for the medal ceremony barefooted and wearing civil rights badges. Both men lowered their heads and each defiantly raised a black gloved fist as the Star Spangled Banner was played. Both of them were members of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

What isn’t as well recognised is that Peter Norman, the Australian sprinter who came second in the 200 metres race, also wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge at the games and on the podium to show support for the American sprinters.

Salute is a a journey back to the 1960’s and beyond, to tell the real story behind what has now become one of the most famous Olympic moments in history. The writer, producer and director for the film is Matt Norman, Peter Norman’s nephew.

On the film’s official website we read,

As the release of this film nears and the world protests against China’s civil and human rights atrocities leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a new generation needs to see how the Olympic games has been part of World politics in the past.

“Salute” has become even more important to showcase to the World that even after 40 years since the Mexico City Olympic games in 1968 we have still learnt NOTHING.

This should be a lesson as this generation watch history repeat itself.

Salute the movie, for the first time, tells the true story of what happened in 1968 by all three athletes Tommie Smith, John Carlos and more importantly the late Peter Norman.

I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to Matt Norman about his film during my radio programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM this morning. Matt talked about his passion to see his uncle recognised for his part in that historic moment. He talked of a man who was committed to doing what was right, even though he knew it would come at a cost and that he was putting himself at risk.

If you’d like to hear more about Peter Norman’s remarkable story, click play on the audio player at the bottom of this post and hear my interview with Matt Norman.

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The Dream is over

royhg.jpgI’m now even less interested in the upcoming Olympics.

I really haven’t felt much excitement about the Beijing Olympics but now tells me that The Dream is over for Roy and HG.

The Dream has been a great show, helping to inject some humour into the endless hours of sporting action.

The show is being replaced by a morning programme titled Yum Cha, hosted by Kylie Gillies and Andrew Daddo. I really enjoy watching Andrew Daddo but it just won’t be the same.

The satirical late-night program that helped Seven rebrand itself as a cheeky yet competent network is a victim of time zones and Beijing security.

Beijing will be two hours behind the east coast of Australia, with many event finals stretching into late night, which is when Rampaging Roy Slaven and HG Nelson won fans during the 2000 Sydney, 2002 Salt Lake City and 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

I’m sure I’ll still keep an eye on some of the results, specially the cycling, but without Roy and HG to spice things up a little there seems even less reason to get excited about the games.

What about you? Are looking forward to spending hours in front of the box to watch all your favourite events?

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