If you are like most people, you were unusually glued to your TV the past two weeks watching the Olympic coverage from Beijing. You were blown away by the incredible, record-setting gold medal perfection of Michael Phelps in the pool. You were mesmerized by the gymnastic performances of Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. You were shocked and dismayed when we dropped the baton...twice. And you have probably learned more about beach volleyball than you ever wanted to know. Maybe you even rooted for Bend's own Adam Craig in the mountain bike race. Now that the torch moves on to Vancouver for 2010, I'd like to submit my candidates for new Olympic sports:
Extreme Ironing: Founded in 1997 by two Brits named Phil and Paul, but better known as "Steam" and "Spray," EI is a sport that "combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt," according to the Extreme Ironing Bureau. "It involves taking an iron and board (if possible) to remote locations and ironing a few items of laundry. This can involve ironing on a mountainside, preferably on a difficult climb, or taking an iron skiing, snowboarding or canoeing." In 2002, the German Extreme Ironing Section organized the highly successful World Championships in the village of Valley near Munich with German ironist Hot Pants winning the individual event and a British team taking the top spot in the team event. The international popularity of this sport makes it an obvious selection for the Olympics.
Dance Dance Revolution: This up-and-coming sport has taken off like Michael Martin Murphy's "Wildfire" in the '70s. If you haven't played it yet, you are probably a Boomer who remembers that song, but where have you been? DDR is the most popular sport of the X-Box generation and tournaments have popped up all over the world. If you're clueless, you can see all sorts of examples on YouTube, including the World Championships in Japan this year. If DDR isn't a shoe-in with the IOC, then Guitar Hero should be the pick.
Floating: This would be a unique sport that is both judged and timed. Obviously, points would be awarded for certain style elements and degree of difficulty, but also for completing the run down the river in a target time, such as when the beer garden opens or the shuttle bus leaves. Bend would be a breeding ground for world champions and Olympic medalists in this sport. In fact, Bend could become home to the U.S. Floating Federation and Training Center. Beck and his band floated before their concert last Sunday and he said "Floating is just what you should do in the summer in Bend," as he dedicated a song to those on the river. Just think of the dollars that would flood into the Central Oregon economy as aspiring Floaters move here to train.
DITCH THE REMOTE
Now you can turn off the remote and start training for London 2012. Actually, a small group of us at a party (admittedly after some wine) recently agreed to form a masters women's curling team and committed to embark on a strict training regimen for Vancouver 2010. At the very least, get back out on your bike, don your trail running shoes or pitch your tent somewhere. This is the nicest time of year here, especially after Labor Day when the tourists and mosquitoes go away.
When that happens, cyclocross season has arrived. The WebCyclery Thrilla Cross Series launches on September 4 and continues on Thursday evenings at 6pm on September 11, 18 and October 2. Cyclocross is a killer workout and spectator friendly, so come on out, and the worse the weather, the better. For more information, visit www.webcyclery.com.
Sunrise to Summit and the Bend to Bachelor Duathlon are slated for August 30. Run up 2,600 feet from Sunrise Lodge to the top of Mt Bachelor or double your fun and precede the run with a 2,770-foot climb on your bike. To register, visit www.mbsef.org. Personally, I think the MBSEF may as well go all out and create a REVERSE PPP. First, they hand out the mugs and you drink beer. Then you sprint, paddle, run, bike up to Bachelor, x-c ski and then skin up to the Red Chair. The race finishes with a 100-yard glissade down the hill. Any takers?