In honor of a memorable 2008 Olympics, Lacey and I have invented a new Olympic event. It’s called the Alternative Triathlon. Here’s how it works:
- At the end of each Olympics (perhaps during the closing ceremonies?) three randomly selected events for the following Olympics’ Alternative Triathlon are announced. For instance, it might be announced that in four years, the Alternative Triathlon will feature ping-pong, weightlifting, and synchronized swimming.
- Countries choose their athletes as quickly as possible, based on an unprecedented level of athletic versatility (this will event make decathletes look like Oompah-Loompahs in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory). We suggest a training schedule of one year for each sport or event, with the final year to be used for trials and further versatility training (i.e. “bringing it all together”). In the example above, the weightlifting training should clearly come first, followed by synchronized swimming in the second year and ping-pong in the third. Of course, maintenance training would make each subsequent year in the lead-up to the Olympics more intense for the Alternative Triathletes.
- The Alternative Triathletes will occupy a special place in the opening ceremonies, perhaps with an interpretive dance around the newly lit flame or some other unique function.
- As with the other “thons,” the events in the Alternative Triathlon (hereafter referred to as “AT”) will take place on consecutive days. There will also be two further schedule-related requirements. First, each event will be scheduled at least three days apart from the regular event in the same sport. In our example, this would mean that AT weightlifting must be scheduled at least three days after the end of regular Olympic weightlifting, AT synchro at least three days after regular synchro, and so on. This will ensure that Alternative Triathletes still look cool even though they may be just a shade worse at their events than the regular athletes in those events. The second specification is that the Alternative Triathlon must always be scheduled for the last three days of the games. Since it will clearly be the most popular event, this will provide a fitting and modern climax to an aging tradition.
And that’s about it. Comments? Suggestions? Please feel free to give us your honest feedback using the poll below (concept courtesy Chinese government):