The Olympics-- sports, really-- are about codifying things people already do for fun, fitness, and work to determine who's the best.
In that respect, the Summer Olympics are much more relatable than the Winter Olympics; they more accurately represent when and how we sport. When it's warm, we go outside and behave in formats replicated in the Summer games-- running, swimming, biking, and participating in various ball sports. When we watch the Winter games, we recognize skiing and snowboarding, ice skating, hockey, and various scary modifications of sledding, but we're much less likely to have just done those activities ourselves. Those sports are less accessible on average, and we mostly stay inside when it's cold out. Because it sucks when it's cold out.
Could the things we actually do during winter be formalized for competition? I think so, and many of them already have. Thus, I propose an additional INDOOR OLYMPICS (please click link for full effect) to be held every fourth winter. I don't want to replace the Winter Olympics, which are great and fun and worthwhile. I just want something else. And I'm not talking about shoehorning outdoor events into indoor versions, like luging down the stairs and shit like that. I'm talking about competitions based on everyday behavior, many of which already exist.
And there are many competitions-- many of which are already performed at something resembling a formal, professional level-- that could be appropriated as Olympic events. We're in a bit of a golden age of turning indoor fun into rivalry. Here is a quick list of pre-existing competitions that, with very little tweaking, would lend themselves to an international tournament and the awarding of medals:
- Competitive eating
- Competitive cooking (Chopped and Iron Chef have established competitive formats)
- Drinking games (Beerfest already established a workable battery of events)
- American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, and other performance/art talent show-type things
- Board games: Chess, checkers, backgammon, Connect Four, Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Risk -- pretty much anything that isn't grounded in any one language (so no Scrabble, Boggle, or Scattergories. And while we're at it, spelling bees and most game shows are out for the same reason.)
- Card and gambling games, especially poker
- Gardening, dog showing, animal husbandry, aquascaping
- Indoor and parlor sports forgotten or rejected by the Olympics like darts, bowling, billiards, and shuffleboard
- Arcade/basement games like pinball and air hockey
- So many video games, computer games, online games, app games, role-playing games, and other strategy games
- Wood-working, metalworking, taxidermy, robotics and other makin'-shit-type endeavors
- Tabletop battles of strength like arm-wrestling and thumb-wrestling
- Typing (Could get around the language issue by inventing an alphabet for competition)
...and so much more. All these competitions exist, many on an international level. Why not replicate them under the Olympic umbrella and hold them all at once?
I wouldn't stop there. The INDOOR OLYMPICS (please click again) are an opportunity to assign competitive value to activities we all do, but rarely keep score. Some person and some country are the BEST at these things, yet we have no idea! Here are more Indoor Olympic events without pre-existing competitive formats, divided into two categories. One category tests your ability to manipulate objects like weight-lifting and javelin do, the other tests your raw bodily skills like the running and jumping events do:
MANIPULATION OF OBJECTS:
Dishwashing: Same soap, same sponge, same dishes with the same food residue left to encrust upon them. Who can achieve the squeakiest clean (as determined by chemical assays) the fastest? (This event could apply to anything, really: Floors, toilets, pipes, etc.)
Stair Descent: Like diving, but falling down stairs. Pretty much the same scoring system. Could even be a synchronized event.
DVR Archery: Competitors are presented with an episode of the same 30-minute series with opening credits and regular commercial breaks. They are asked to get through the episode as quickly as possible while playing as much of the actual content in real time as possible.
Dog-petting: There is a dog. Who can most promptly and continuously stimulate the dog's pinnal-pedal reflex by petting? Who can make the dog wag its tail the most? Who can best convince the dog it is a very good dog? (This could be measured with hormonal analysis.)
Drugs: You just do a lot of drugs. Who can do the most drugs? I haven't really thought this one through.
Bed-making: This could be done by singles or pairs, then judged at the end by a panel for elements like: 1. Fitted sheet tautness 2. Pillow fluffiness 3. Duvet-inside-duvet-cover uniform flatness and so forth.
Synchronized Moving: Two people. One bookcase. One bed frame. One armoir. One treacherous flight of stairs and narrow door frame. One running clock.
Sleepstyle: The objective is to determine the best sleeper in certain short-term and long-term events. You'd use autonomic analysis or EEG to determine who can get to sleep the fastest (like a sprint event), who can sleep the longest (like a weird marathon), and who can stay asleep through the flashing of lights and sounding of noises (like hurdles).
Weepstyle: Competitive crying could be scored solely on tear and booger production, though if we got some judges, we could add style elements like the snot yo-yo, the projectile squirt, and general face contortions.
Freestyle Defecation: Have competitors fast, then eat the same meal, then poop. Points are awarded for consistency and sculpture, as well as tricks like the kick-stand, the iceberg, the phantom, and the clean sweep. (Note: Sochi would not be the right venue for this event.)
Figure Sexing: Like figure skating, but sex, you see. Obviously, this would mostly be done in pairs, but one could imagine an equivalent for singles/ice dancing, too. Sexers would put together programs of different lengths, then there would be an established set of technical "elements" for judges to assess.
Just Screaming As Loud As You Can: Need to think of a more official-sounding name for this one, but there you go.
The Pentathlon (Flatulence, Eructation, Sternutation, Pandiculation, and Singultus): Two minutes to produce as much and as loud farting as possible. Two minutes to produce as much and as loud burping as possible. Two minutes to induce as much and as loud sneezing as possible. Two minutes to induce as much and as loud yawning as possible. Two minutes to induce as much and as loud hiccuping as possible. One more minute to freestyle and attempt combinations.
This is just a foundation. I encourage you to recommend more events. The point is: We have more than enough pre-existing indoor events and undocumented indoor skills to put together a rich, compelling INDOOR OLYMPICS (please click). We've cast the light of the Olympic torch upon our warm-weather and cold-weather warriors. It's time to give our no-weather warriors a chance.