Let the Games Begin

And the gold medal for pinochle goes to...

Finally, political correctness is one reason, though hardly the only one, that golf was frozen out of the Atlanta games. MacAloon recalls that local Olympic officials there desperately tried to include the sport in the 1996 games at the last minute. But when organizers proposed that the competition be played at the venerable home of the Masters Tournament, Olympic planners -- including Atlanta's mayor -- balked at what they considered a less-than-inclusive membership policy at the Augusta National Golf Club.

6. Don't ask for a new house. Don't expect to find favor among IOC members if you are proposing an Olympic sport that will require a crisp, new $40 million venue. As it is, host cities already go way, way out on a financial limb preparing for the games. It is for this reason (at the very least) that Formula One auto racing will never grace the Olympiad.

Conversely, one of the reasons the triathlon was approved so quickly (although undeniably popular, the event has been in existence a mere 27 years) is that running, biking and swimming already had venues and experienced organizers. In other words, while triathloning itself is new, Olympic officials looked favorably on the fact that there is nothing new about it.

Even better would be to find an underutilized venue to piggyback on. This is the only conceivable explanation for the existence of synchronized diving (except, perhaps, for the anticipated strong showing by the hometown Aussies). There it sat, the diving pool in the Sydney International Aquatic Centre, multimillion-dollar home to a mere four events. You can hear the gears turning inside the head of some underappreciated diving coach soon after the 2000 games were awarded to Sydney: "I've got it! Let's have two divers jump at the same time!"

If only they would put the diving boards at right angles and make it synchronized contact diving. That would be something worth staying up until 4 a.m. to watch.

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