It’s one thing to have “sports” with subjective judging when there’s no choice. But it’s unforgivable to introduce “artistic impression” and “style points” into sports that don’t need it.
Brent Musberger: And there’s the gun! Usain Bolt is out of the blocks like a shot. He’s looking strong at the 30-meter mark. And here it comes – oh no! – he got a little loose with his elbow on the cartwheel, although he recovered nicely and stuck the landing on the backflip. That’s going to be a two-tenths deduction on the judges’ scorecard. And here he comes – that’s a new world record time, folks! Let’s wait and see if it’s enough to get him the gold. Here come the marks. 9.2, 9.1…
Ato Boldon: Oh, no – the Iranian judge gives him an 8.6! That’s going to hand the gold medal to American Tyson Gay!
Brent Musberger: Here comes Frenchman Teddy Tamgho down the runway for his final attempt in the Triple Jump. Nice take-off, great extension – he’s done it! He’s done it! 18.32 meters! That’s the longest jump in history! Surely this will be a gold medal! We’re waiting now for the judges’ scores.
Ato Boldon: Brent, I think he’s going to be disappointed with his marks for artistic impression. Teddy has always been a superb pure athlete, but he has been criticized for lacking fluidity and grace. He really let it all hang out on this jump, but as you can see on the replay here his right leg flies out just a tad before the landing. That’s going to cost him.
Okay, that’s just stupid.
Brent Musberger: Chris Paul with the crossover, into the lane – he kicks to a wide open Kevin Durant for three – good! Now let’s see the marks. Hunh. Durant wasn’t perfectly vertical as he released the ball, Chuck. You can see on replay he’s falling just a little to the left. Yep – three-tenths deduction. So a 2.7-pointer, and that pushes the USA lead over the Brazilians to 4.6 points with a minute left in the half.
Charles Barkley: Turrible. That’s just turrible.
Listen, I get that not all competitions are amenable to purely objective scoring. There’s no way to evaluate
Synchronized Swimming Figure Skating without resort to subjective judging. Same for Rhythmic Gymnastics and Ballroom Dancing Slopestyle and Half-Pipe. These “sports” aren’t about speed or distance, so we use judges and try and make the process as credible as we can.
I hate to be too much of a purist, but I sort of am. I used to say that if it didn’t have a ball it wasn’t a sport. Which is ridiculous – Track is sure as hell a sport, and Bowling has a ball.
And the gods help me, I do like watching some of these newfangled snowpunk made-up X-games. Slopestyle is all kinds of fun, and it’s impossible not to ooh and aah at a fakey 1034 reverse trucker with a crotch grab – seriously, this is how the play by play sounds to me – and if you don’t enjoy Shaun White ignoring the laws of gravity then you just hate freedom.
So we make allowances where we have to.
But in the Winter Olympics, it’s not enough to resort to subjective judging when there’s no alternative. No, these rhinestone spangled wankers have to insert judging into competitions where it simply isn’t needed.
For instance, check out Moguls. You have this impossibly bumpy hill (I’ve had surgery on both knees and it hurts me to look at the Olympic course), and the objective is to get to the bottom fast. Except there are two little jumps where you have to do the X-version of a cartwheel. And if you fuck it up, you lose.
Then there’s one of the most awesome sports known to humanity – Ski Jumping. Holy crap, these people were extreme decades before the term had anything to do with nacho-flavored chips. Again, it’s a perfect situation for pure, objective scoring. But no, we have to have judges awarding style points. You can jump the farthest and not even medal, in theory.
I have an idea: stop fucking around you poncey fucking wankers.
Put me in charge and we’re going to make some simple changes. The new and improved moguls will have this big, nasty-ass hill and the faster skier to the bottom wins. If you’re married to the jumps, fine, leave them there. Let the skiers figure out how to use them to maximize their speed. This will make for a far more satisfying sporting experience and it will free up some time for the judges to go shop for new tramp-stamps.
How would I fix Ski Jumping? Easy. Shoot the judges. It’s like Long Jumping in Track & Field, only with a hill and snow and skis. Whoever jumps the farthest wins. Period.
This ain’t hard, people. And I’m sure if we get together and pool our money we can round up enough cash to bribe the IOC. Let’s make this happen!