Just why is beach volleyball in the Olympics?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Now, look, this will probably be an unpopular piece - but can someone explain to me again why beach volleyball is in the Olympics?

The official version is that it was introduced as a trial sport and proved so popular that games organisers decided to make it a regular feature from 1996.

I'm sorry if this sounds like sporting snobbery but I just don't rate beach volleyball as a sport. It's a pastime, isn't it? You play it on the beach on holiday.

The cynic in me says that beach volleyball is simply there for the TV and for grown men to slobber over the sight of scantily clad women throwing themselves about in the sand. I mean, why don't they just go the whole kahuna and make the beach volleyballers play naked - because that's what this is about, really. I'm assuming no one watches the blokes. Women generally have more sense.

I know, I know, many of you will be saying things like: what about synchronised swimming or baseball or handball or even Greco-Roman wrestling? And it's true. There are some sports whose credentials you question in an Olympic context.

For me, the rule of thumb is that the sport shouldn't be in the Olympics if the world championship or a major tournament or tournaments are more prestigious. That lets out Olympic soccer and tennis then. Boring and inconsequential in the greater scheme of things.

Golf is trying to get into the Olympics. Forget it, guys, the majors are much better.

Beach volleyball, by my own nominated criterion, would make it as an Olympic sport as it does have a world championships and a thriving world scene. And at least we had the sight of a tense match between war-torn Georgia and Russia at the beach volleyball. Or did we? Georgia's two maidens, it turns out, actually hail from Brazil.

"We were not playing against the Georgian team today," sniffed one of the Russians, Natalia Uryadova, at a press conference afterwards. "'We were playing against the Brazilian team. If they are Georgian they would certainly have been influenced (by world events), but certainly they are not."

So I'm afraid I just can't take it seriously. What next? Beach cricket? Speed sandcastle building? Beach tennis? I've got it...beach bikini waxing. Contestants would be waxed - this would all be done in the best possible taste, of course, without TV being too intrusive. Then they would be judged on skin texture, shape and form after a catwalk parade. On sand, of course.

The final leg would be a practical application test. Contestants would have to run into the surf, waving their hands in the air, accompanied by Beach Boys' music, and we'd all see if their bikinis fell off in the waves. It'd rate through the roof, I tell you.

And that's what it's all about. If the money-hungry Olympics can get the networks to pay out megabucks, you get the feeling they'd sanction anything.

I'm not even going to start on synchronised swimming or, as a friend of mine has always called it, synchronised drowning. Before synchronised swimmers, family and friends start calling...I get it, I really do. It's demanding, no doubt, and clever. But is it a sport? If so, why isn't ballet an Olympic sport? Or ballroom dancing? Or those Irish people that dance without their hands.

It's a shame that TV has taken over to quite this extent. Sport gets lost in all this commercial ballyhoo.

At this rate, we'll get Britney bleedin' Spears kicking off a new Olympic event - Taxi Exiting. Underclothes are optional but the degree of difficulty is greater without.

This story was sourced from The New Zealand Herald

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam