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2000 Olympics Brings Variety of New Sports

by Blake Rehberg

If you think the Olympics have so much history and tradition behind them that they would not be affected by progressive culture, you are wrong.

The International Olympic Committee adds a handful of new games every now and again. I know what you are thinking, sports are sports and thatıs that. Think again; Sydney will not only host some completely new games but more importantly five sports will be opened up to women for the first time.

As all of us here on the Oberlin College campus know, the differences in terms of ability between men and women are small to none, and those certainly donıt keep women from doing anything that men do. Opened for women to compete for the first time this year are: modern pentathlon, weight lifting, water polo, pole vault, and hammer throw.

Modern Pentathlon consists of shooting, fencing, swimming, riding, and running, added in 1912 based upon a French tale of a soldier in the Franco-Prussian war who shot, slashed, ran, swam, and rode his way behind enemy lines. It has taken eighty-eight years for it to be opened up to women, although it is composed of five sports in which women already compete.

Cheryl Haworth is one of the four women the United States is sending down under for weightlifting, and she is the medal favorite. Although only seventeen years old, Haworth holds a world record of 319 pounds in the clean-and-jerk. I know as a guy I am supposed to talk all macho, but I could never come close to the 500 pounds that she can bench press.

Stacy Dragila of the United States will be bounding her way into the Olympics this year as the medal favorite for the pole vault. Dragila currently holds records of fifteen feet and two and a quarter inches, which maybe almost five feet less than the menıs record, but is still more than impressive. She has set sights on sixteen feet in Sydney.

In water polo, the United States is one of only six countries that is sending a womenıs team. Although they havenıt made any waves just yet, weıll be sure to keep the lighthouse burning and a good look out. We will be watching for the hammer throw as well although as of now the United States has not named anyone to compete.

If you still think women are inferior for some reason, you should check out the Triathlon, one of the brand new events this year. Michelle Jones of Australia has finished the first part of the race, swimming, a distance of almost a mile, in the front of the field ahead of both men and women. How about looking to the cover of Newsweek to see who is making headlines. Is it a man? Iım afraid not. It is none other than Marion Jones who is going for an unprecedented five gold medals in the same year. How is that for your ego boys?

Also new to the games this year are trampoline, tae kwon do, and synchronized diving. Well what can you say for those? Now when mothers tell their children to stop jumping on the bed, their children will reply that they are training for the Olympics. What I want to know is when paper-rock-scissors is going to be added. Now there is a game that takes skill, and not to toot my own horn, but I am a master. Maybe a more appropriate question for Oberlin is when will utimate frisbee be added.

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Copyright © 2000, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 129, Number 2, September 15, 2000

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