Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pro Wrestling as an Olympic Sport (ETS Daily Exclusive)

While watching the Olympics, it's impossible not to think about how much things have changed. One needn't look any further than the opening ceremonies, which outdo themselves every year in terms of spectacle. Imagine what the competitors in the first modern games of 1896 would think if they saw a young man being flown by a harness and running over a projected video of blowing grass? Or an unfathomable amount of lesbian Canadian performers singing renditions of songs while people dressed up as Native Americans danced around paper mache volcanoes? Before they died of massive brain hemorrhaging, they'd probably think to themselves that maybe it's become more about the spectacle than the actual sporting events. As for the sporting events themselves, what actually constitues a sport? Or, more to the point, what constitues an Olympic sport? Take doubles figure skating for example. It is an Olympic sport that involves two participants taking part in a staged athletic display, who try to tell a story using music and an array of correographed moves. What makes this different from Pro Wrestling? Pro Wrestling, like most art forms, tries to tell a story. Not everyone can do it, but those who do it well have become legends in the ring. Wrestlers such as Lou Thesz, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, and even the "immortal" Hulk Hogan each had their own ways of telling stories, and making people believe. They did it by choreographing moves in an athletic display in an effort to tell a compelling story. A great match, like a great skating performance, can bring people to their feet and insight emotions. Both events are staged, or as skeptics like to say, "fake," yet people who already know this to be the case can find themselves screaming at the top of their lungs in support of their favorite Wrestlers. I would like to see these great storytellers display their athletic art on an Olympic stage, and here's how they could do it. There would be a cruiserweight division, a heavyweight division, and a tag team division. Each competing country would have 8 competitors, including two cruiserweights, two heavyweights, and four tag team wrestlers. The wrestlers from each country, like a pair of olympic figure skators, would wrestle each other in an effort to have the best match possible in a predetermined amount of time. Say, 10 minutes. Judges, in their scoring, could include the exeuction of the moves, the pace of the match, the difficulty of the moves that were used, and the overall flow and story that was told in the match itself. There could also be a set of moves that must be performed during the match as part of an overall curriculum. There are wrestlers from all over the world, and many different countries could be represented well. Besides the U.S., countries such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Great Britain have rich professional wrestling traditions, as well as their own wrestling style. While it remains doubtful that Pro Wrestling will ever be adopted as an Olympic event, why not bring these great athletes onto the world's biggest stage, and allow them to perform their craft?


Mrs. KU said...

Terrific writing--you really made your point.

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