Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small

Beyond Trampoline: New Summer Games To Consider

Jeffery Gluckstein and Michael Devine compete in the synchronized trampoline competition at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, Calif., on June 27. i i

Jeffery Gluckstein and Michael Devine compete in the synchronized trampoline competition at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, Calif., on June 27. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Jeffery Gluckstein and Michael Devine compete in the synchronized trampoline competition at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, Calif., on June 27.

Jeffery Gluckstein and Michael Devine compete in the synchronized trampoline competition at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, Calif., on June 27.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The trampoline is a competitive sport in this year's Olympic Games. It might be hard to envision finely trained athletes competing for gold in what a lot of Americans probably consider something kids do while the grill gets hot.

But competitive trampoline routines can be thrilling. Lean, nimble gymnasts turn somersaults and flips to do enchantingly named maneuvers like the fliffus and the triffus.

The Olympics have a long history of including some games and discarding others. Croquet and cricket were sports at the 1900 Olympics in Paris but not thereafter.

Tug of war was an official sport for five Olympics. But it was discontinued after the 1920 games in Antwerp when teams started brawling. "Gentlemen, you can't brawl here! This is tug of war!"

There are a few new competitions the Olympics might consider that might be a little more familiar in his accelerated digital age than the fliffus, triffus or canoe sprint.

Instead of weightlifting, why not cholesterol lowering? Anti-statin drugs would obviously be prohibited. So the Americans and Canadians would try to eat lots of fiber, while the French team would drink red wine and smoke cigarettes.

Imagine the competitors — in Ralph Lauren hospital smocks — trash-talking back and forth while they wait for lab results: "Fiber!" "Gauloises!" "Celery!" "Beaujolais!"

I'd tune in for that.

Why not replace water polo for one Olympics with "Mobile Phone Marco Polo" — blindfolded people in a pool trying to locate each other by their ringtones. Where is that marimba? Can you find the Kelly Clarkson or the Sister Sledge ringtone?

There are other events — like trampoline, beach volleyball or table tennis — that could grow out of our everyday lives, like "Changing Diapers While Making Dinner." I wonder if they'd even bother to field a men's team. Or "Walking Down the Street With Two Children Tugging in Different Directions."

And finally: Why not bring back tug of war? Except in 2012, make it Germany on one side and Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Slovenia, Malta and all the other eurozone countries on the other.

In fact, maybe just Chancellor Merkel against the 16. Would you bet against her?

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Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small