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Ronan's report

Sunday August 8th 2012

It's Olympics time again and, it being London 2012, the UK is riveted to all things Olympian. The BBC has wall-to-wall coverage, adding 24 new channels just so that we don't miss anything (unless the satellite TV recorder goes on the blink again, cutting off the last 5 minutes of Bradley Wiggins' triumph. Excellent...).

I like this saturation coverage, it means that you get to watch sports not normally seen on the box. I sat through an hour's worth of fencing the other day. Completely baffling.

I can believe that there is considerable skill needed to be a world class fencer, the attacks and parries take place at a phenomenal speed. So fast in fact, that it is all but impossible to follow the action.

To the uninitiated all you see is two astronauts rushing at each other, a split second of flashing and rattling sabres or foils, and then a light blinks on somewhere or other and one of the spacemen punches the air in delight. I obviously missed the bit on day one that explained the scoring system because, even when they showed the slow motion replay I couldn't see why or even who had scored. I thought that if their helmet lit up it meant they'd won a point, but sometimes both helmets flashed and I wondered if it was warning indicator for their heads overheating.

I was also a little disappointed to find that, although this was fencing, there were no rounds of "Swinging From The Chandeliers", "Fighting Up and Down The Stairs", or even any "Slashing of Shirts Without Drawing Blood".

In short, fencing isn't what you might call a sport made for TV.

Evidently being TV friendly isn't the sole criteria for a sport's inclusion in the Olympics. There are a lot Olympic sports (archery, equestrianism, shooting) historically rooted in hunting. These aren't huge participation sports, nor are they particularly TV friendly. So it's a puzzle as to why casting sports aren't included in the games too.

Making an argument for Casting Sports in the Olympics shouldn't be hard:

Tradition: Angling is an ancient sport. Ask the Greeks. The original Olympians loved this stuff.

High Participation: Angling beats nearly all the Olympian events (I guess Walking may edge us out there).

High Skill Level: You try chucking a 5wt 120ft, or hitting a plant-pot at 60ft, every time.

TV Friendly:The beauty and spectacle of seeing a fly line loop towards its target easily beats that of someone hefting a shot-put, and casting is immediately understandable (Fencing take note).

Personality:Imagine the post-match interviews from Paul, Lasse, and Mike!

And if all else fails we could make them all wear one-piece lycra suits or even bikinis. If it's good enough for beach volleyball, it's good enough for us.


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