Did you know Tug Of War used to be an Olympic Event? Yeah, for real.
Which begs the question...why the hell did they ever get rid of something so cool? If you've ever been in a Tug-Of War, you know there aren't many better feelings than the moment where momentum has swung your way. Hell, I remember when we made "Field Day" teams in elementary school, we tried to design our teams with an eye to win Tug Of War, even though most events revolved around sprinting. Why? Because what's cooler than Tug Of War! The Olympics used to have medals for sculpture and poetry (its true...in the early part of the 20th century), and while it's no secret why those programs were abandoned (because they're fucking stupid), why would you also eliminate the ultimate event in team strength?
My father first brought this to my attention over the weekend, then I noticed Bill Simmons over at Grantland kicked the idea into overdrive in his latest mailbag. In typical Simmons fashion, he suggests we have some reality television version of Olympic tug of war where Gold Medal winners of each country go head to head during the closing ceremonies. Perhaps the losers could fall into a pit of snakes (or at least mud). I have to admit, the idea of Phelps and Lochte standing beside Lebron, pullin' rope for the US would be pretty cool. Like imagine little Gabby Douglas up front, staring down Aliya Mustafina of Russia, desperately trying to avenge her loss in the uneven bars while praying the Commie face plants into a pool of mud (or snakes!). Yes Commie! Because even though Russia hasn't been communist in 20 years, you know that old hatred would immediately return the moment the tug commences. Pretty entertaining stuff.
But if we're going to reinstate Tug Of War into Olympic competition, it would make sense if it were less of a show and more a display of strength. This isn't to suggest that this asshole..
...should be our anchor, but you know which group of participants would excite not only America, but probably the rest of the world? Soldiers. The military!
Seriously, is there a greater sign of a nation's strength than it's military? Regardless of its size? If you ask the average American who the baddest dudes on the planet are, most would probably point to those Navy Seals who shot Bin Laden. If not them, some other branch would probably come to mind. I can safely assume it's similar in other countries. Also, our greatest Olympic moments (the 1980 USA/USSR Hockey Game, Jesse Owens, etc) took place in front of a heavy political backdrop, and we took immense pride in the strength of our athletes. Well, why not place the baddest guys on the planet in the ultimate feat of strength? As mentioned, you know old Cold War resentment would rise again during our Tug Of War with Russia (but, at least, in a safe environment). Can you imagine the USA/North Korea ratings? North Korea would train for decades in hopes to beat us in that. USA and China, the economic powers of the world, putting inflation and interest rates aside, and facing off in the ultimate event of raw power? Even Revolutionary War analogies would be made when America faced Great Britain (and maybe Prince Harry can be on the squad). It would easily be a top five Olympic event.
IOC, please let us exert our imperialistic muscle in a healthy way. Bring back the Tug Of War.