A NOVICE’S GUIDE TO THIS YEAR’S OLYMPIC SPORTS

By Trint Nelson-Nelson

Every Olympiad, novice sport-watchers become exposed to numerous endeavors obscure to their crude, beer-sponsored expositions of aggression. Therefore, we have put together this guide for viewers not used to the subtleties and grace of competitions bereft of graphics, robot facsimiles of the players, and ear-splitting exhortations to chant.

Show Jumping

In this exhibition of style and grace, riders must leap over a series of precisely-arranged obstacles. They receive penalties for knocking over the obstacle, allowing haunches to touch the ground, exceeding the clock, horse disobedience, horse intransigence, grievous horse insult, leaving an impression near a water jump, leaving hoof-carved obscenities near a water jump, unauthorized horse-to-horse combat.

Archery

A test of extraordinary skill from a bygone age, each competitor fires an arrow at a target 70 meters away with three arrows per set. The score is determined by proximity to the center or “bulls-eye.” The thrilling, nervy competition involves excellent vision, a true aim, and a steady horse able to remain still and not affect the mounted archer. Archers hope that this Olympics will launch a new era in the sport after WADA overturned the last years’ World Championship because dozens of teams tested positive for pharmacological horse-calming agents.

Judo

This combat sport is less a contest of brute strength than a trial of will and intellect. Each competitor tries to throw the other to his or her back while moving with the violent elegance of a scorned ballerino assaulting a spiteful casting director. Participants are penalized for striking, adopting defensive postures, horse-kicks, cantering, attempting to throw an opponent off of his or her horse, applying pressure to the wrong horse-elbow, and showing grave disrespect by failing to execute a horse bow at the beginning of each match.

BMX Cycling

While some initially rejected BMX as “a so-called extreme sport that sullies the noble Olympiad with the stench of parking lot marijuanas,” it is here to stay. Each competitor, no doubt some beanie-capped delinquent who honed his and I am sorry to say her trade marauding upon innocent strollers in an unfortunately ramp-strewn downtown shopping district does some sort of trick by flipping their bicycles on a ramp. The Olympic venue has built the world’s largest BMX ramp for the cyclists to gather enough momentum to accommodate the riders, the horses, and the enormous caging apparatus that attaches them to the gigantic bicycles and attempt to “catch air.” They are judged on technical abilities and a stylistic rubric on degree of difficulty, execution of tricks, horse-grooming, and other considerations. This may be your last time to see BMX as certain numbers of the Olympiad work night and day to strike it from the program and ban it from serious sporting competitions and subdivisions the world over.

Diving

The graceful parabola of a body in motion, spinning, flipping, and otherwise wending through air before disappearing with nary a visible splash. The Olympiad includes events off three- and ten-meter boards for individuals and synchronized teams. Participants must combine a dancers’ finesse with a daredevil’s fearlessness as they plunge themselves into a chlorinated abyss, knowing that the slightest mistake can rotate their elegant swan dives into oafish cannonballs no more suited for the Olympiad than an inflatable noodle or poolside limbos contest. Divers must aim for soaring heights, controlled maneuvers, and proper behavior from their horses, which sit in specialized horse-SCUBA equipment at the bottom of the pool, watching.

International Sport-Pamphlet furnishes eager sport-consumers with easy-to-understand rules. Other series include TOUCHDOWN, JOE: THE OFFICIAL, COURT-APPROVED RULES OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE BROUGHT TO YOU BY MILLER LITE OFFICIAL BEER OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, by Troy Aikman, Tennis, Everyone! by Jack “Sport” Trandbo, and Baseball’s Unwritten Rules in a Pamphlet for Pants-Hiked Dipshits by Hugo “Lungs” Lungosi.