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AT LARGE: Five ring circus

AT LARGE: Five ring circus

Readers beyond the fringes of Sydney's metropolitan hub may or may not be aware that there's a fairly sizeable sporting carnival on in town at the moment. It's been in all the papers here. It's been great so far: lots of flag waving, people running around with torches, and everywhere you go, a ripper of a sausage sizzle. I've never known any event that couldn't be livened up with a few snags on a barbie.

There are (I'm told) 28 different sports being played at the carnival. They cover the entire range of human endeavour, from volleyball to beach volleyball and everything in between. Of course, some sports, such as golf and horse racing, are not represented. Obviously these are not of interest to a sufficiently large proportion of the audience. At least synchronised diving made the cut. I never miss a synchronised diving meet - you're probably the same yourself.

Since I imagine that coverage of the carnival has been fairly low in your local papers, you may not have heard about a few of the events that were considered for inclusion this year, but for various reasons were not considered appropriate. My sources deep within the echelons of the International Olympic Committee (I know someone who volunteered to help out at the fencing) have provided me with a list of rejected events. Here is an exclusive look at this list, in keeping with ARN's proud tradition of bringing you all the hottest sporting news first off the blocks.

Proposed event 1: 1GHz dash

Earlier this year, sports enthusiasts all over the world were locked to their TV sets, watching expectantly as hot rivals AMD and Intel charged towards the near-mythical speed mark. Which would cross first? Who would set the standard for others to follow? Where would the new target be set? What would become of the vanquished loser? Would this mean the end of Moore's law?

The two crossed the line together, in a near dead heat. Both of them, obviously near exhaustion, said they could have gone faster, but didn't want to just yet. Each accused the other of dirty tricks and sleight of hand in crossing the line.

Reason for rejection: After the mighty contest was over and the dust had cleared, everyone looked around and realised there wasn't actually that much of an audience. Both competitors returned to focus on their main games, around 600MHz or so. Paradoxically, it is likely this event will have become passe in the near future. Expect a 2GHz event before Athens in 2004.

Proposed event 2: Dot-Com Luge

Despite the traditionally balmy weather in Sydney during September, (oh, but it is to laugh), the high-flyers of the Internet economy are considered to have sufficient altitude, and sufficient cool, to construct a respectable luge track. The idea is simple: you get very high and very cool, then suddenly and without warning you plummet at terrifying speed. While not traditionally a sport in which Australians have excelled, recent form has indicated we could have some promising performers on the world stage.

A possible add-on event to this is the Dot-Com Bobsled, in which one Internet business plummets, taking three others with it. Seasoned competitors refer to this as "convergence".

Reason for rejection: selection trials held earlier in the year failed to reveal any clear winners, and the emerging favourites from the trials have not yet rallied sufficient resources for another run. An influx of venture capital following this carnival may lead to more exciting competition in this event in time for Salt Lake City in 2002.

Proposed Event 3: Synchronised bandwagoningThis event is practised year-round, making it ideal for the not-quite-summer, not-quite-winter Games in Sydney. It involves one player enjoying some initial success with an interesting idea, and then all of that player's competitors miraculously having exactly the same idea simultaneously. The very clever ones manage to claim that they had the idea first. What follows is an eerily balletic display, as all players "repurpose their business models", "prioritise their efficiencies" and generally shift gears to try and compete for the same bit of real estate the first player holds.

In the second stage of the event, they all realise that they can't actually do that, and (moving still as one) they retreat back to their earlier business models and efficiencies, to "focus on their core strengths". The magnificent coda comes as, one by one, they announce: "we are market-driven". (Note: sheep and cattle are market-driven too).

Reason for rejection: While the event may be gaining significant currency and wide community participation, the IOC feels it must focus on its core strengths. It's market-driven.

Matthew JC. Powell is a luge enthusiast from way back. Reminiscences are welcome at mjcpowell@ozemail.com


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