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Should Triathlon Be An Olympic Sport?

Consider Olympic sports of the past. Golf is one of the world’s most popular sports, being played in well over 100 nations worldwide. Yet it has only been an Olympic sport twice, in 1900 and 1904. Polo is considered the oldest mounted team sport, with a history reaching back centuries, when it was played in the plains of Asia, ancient Persia, China and India. Polo was on the Olympic program five times, but not since 1936. Cricket, croquet, lacrosse, power boating, rugby, and water skiing have all been Olympic sports.  Then consider some completely obscure and unknown events that have made it to the Olympic arena.

Jeu de paume was an event contested at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Pelote basque has elements of handball, tennis, squash, and the gambling game known as Jai Alai. It was an Olympic sport in 1900 in Paris. Roque, a version of croquet, was played in the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. How did these sports ever make it to the Olympics?  The same way tug-of-war made it on the Olympic program not once, but six times!

The most endearing Olympic sport is probably curling, where since 1924, a “skip” can use a broom to win the same medal they gave Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis. Are curlers really athletes?  Is curling a sport?  At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy, more people in Italy watched curling than ice hockey or figure skating.
But the weirdest sport of all is race walking. It has been an Olympic event for over 100 years. Current NBC Olympic host and commentator Bob Costas said racewalking, “looks like a person who has to go really bad. ‘I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now’ — except they just don’t break into a full-scale sprint. Having a contest to see who can walk the fastest is kind of like having a contest to see who can whistle the loudest. If you’re really in that much of a hurry, run. And if you really want me to hear you, shout.” 
Demonstration sports at the Olympics ended in 1992, as there were too many events in the Summer Olympics for officials to handle. There are many other sports like karate that have been around for hundreds of years and practiced in most countries of the world but have never made it to the Olympics. Lawn bowling, ballooning (yes, hot air balloons), surf lifesaving–a sort of BayWatch, glima, korfball, pesapallo (a.k.a. Finnish baseball), and roller hockey have all made their bid to be in the Olympics but failed.
Britain has already claimed fourth place in the national medal count when they host the next Summer Olympics in 2012. They plan on doing it by entering more athletes in obscure sports like flatwater canoeing and team handball.
So I say, on this eve of the Olympic triathlon in Beijing, does triathlon have it’s rightful place in the Olympics since making its debut at the Sydney Games in 2000 and will it stay?  What do you think?

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