Brent Batten: Olympics not going swimmingly


The Olympics are 10 days away and already traffic jams are forming in London.

The British government is straining its military to provide extra security now that the private contractor hired to protect the games has admitted it doesn't have enough people to do the job.

Clearly, the Olympics need to be downsized. And I have just the solution — get rid of swimming.

Not all swimming mind you, just the extraneous swimming that fills hours of prime time television with talented athletes competing in races in which they are required to go slower than they could.

According to the website, 950 athletes will take part in 34 swimming events over a week of competition. You could cut those numbers by three-fourths by eliminating the breaststroke, butterfly stroke and backstroke; all ways of swimming that propel you through the water at speeds slower than the freestyle stroke.

What's the point of a race? To cover the required distance in the shortest time possible. Why do we have races? Because there are occasions in life when there is an advantage to moving fast and it's a challenge to see who among us can move the fastest.

For some reason, swimming techniques have earned a spot in the Olympics even though they don't demonstrate who can move the fastest.

Say you're in the water and an alligator is coming toward you. Are you going to butterfly your way to shore? Not if you value your limbs. You're kicking your feet and rotating your arms front to back and front again, in other words freestyling, your way to safety.

In "Jaws," when the shark is closing in on the poor sap that was on the dock when it got pulled out to sea, was the guy doing the backstroke?

Record times for the slower strokes are about three to 10 seconds slower than the freestyle record over 100 meters.

But races are events, and events that tend to be dominated by Americans to boot. That adds up to more U.S. interest and better ratings for NBC, which has more than $4 billion invested in televising the games through 2020.

Since enforced slow swimming isn't going away, perhaps Olympics officials and NBC should consider going in the other direction.

Add more athlete-limiting events for more hours of programming.

In keeping with the swimming tradition, how about foot races of varying lengths in which competitors must run backward? Or where they run as fast as they can with both arms extended above their heads.

A relay race in which one leg is run forward, one backward, one on only the left leg and one on only the right leg.

A high jump where athletes leap using their hands and arms instead of their feet and legs.

The one-handed pole vault.

There's no limit to the ways we can limit Olympians, once we agree that going fast is no longer the object of the race.

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Comments » 28

MisterK writes:

Is this supposed to be humorous? You really mailed this one in, Brent.

CarpeVeritas writes:

"A relay race in which one leg is run forward, one backward, one on only the left leg and one on only the right leg."

Do I need more coffee, or is this complete gibberish?

ex31539er writes:

TV loves swimming and diving competitions.

For the same reason NDN links the "2012 Women Olympic Athletes" photo gallery next to your article and SI does its annual swimsuit issue.

Prurient interests prevail, don't you know?

Harvel writes:

What an idiot. How s----- can you be to write an article like this. You must not have a swimmer in your family.

22FOXTROT writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Smoke_Diver writes:

Brent Batten... Do they pay you for this?

swfl_ff writes:

in response to Smoke_Diver:

Brent Batten... Do they pay you for this?

I was wondering the same thing. They actually pay him to write this stuff? I remember when Brent actually wrote some pretty informative and humorous columns but he continues to sink to new lows. And I think this one is an all time low for him.

Sane_in_Florida (Inactive) writes:

NDN seems to be like an equally smutty but local version of The Inquirer. Most articles are of poor journalistic quality and nearly every article is divisive and designed to spark controversy and argument. You really have to hold the Editors accountable for this garbage.

quitcomplaining writes:

What have you been smoking?

GRmanager900 writes:

I think this is an absolute waste of space. I am not a Brent Batten fan to begin with and this article just solidified that dislike even more. Getting rid of the different strokes in swimming is like getting rid of different Track & Field events. I cannot believe this article was published.

jozowa writes:

in response to Harvel:

What an idiot. How s----- can you be to write an article like this. You must not have a swimmer in your family.

I want to show my 9 year old this article, she has been swimming for 2 years now and I think she would go crazy if she read what this reporter just wrote!!!!!! CRAZY

freedomsailor writes:

I have just the solution — get rid of s----- wannabe journalists who write "filler" articles.

btmdgr writes:

WOW...what a waste of time to write and publish this s----- article.

OP writes:

The best thing to come from the Olympics thus far, the uniform debacle has led Harry Reid to adopt a conservative stance on where those uniforms should be made. Anything that gets Harry Reid to show some common sense is notable; too bad the effect is no doubt temporary.

willa4556 writes:

Clearly, the NDN need to be downsized. And I have just the solution — get rid of Batten.

Phillyguy writes:

You are a moron. That is the best way I can say it. You have no idea what swimming is all about and what the Olympics are about. Different strokes and different distances make the sport great and give people who are talented in different ways a chance. That is why Southwest Florida had 8 home grown swimmers go to trial and another 5 or 6 that moved here go to trials. You should have had someone read your column before you printed it. Now we all know how the NDN really feels and I can't believe I am giving you any of my time. Disappointed!!!!!!!!

MacGumbo writes:

Two forms of thought...

1. We get rid of everything the U.S. is good at. ie. girls softball


2. We get rid of everything that is graded. We all know politics come into play here ALL THE TIME.

Get rid of diving, synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics, they're s----- anyway and like soccer not a real sport!

Events like boxing you take away the judges and let them continue until one is left standing or one quits. Maybe a 1st knockdown rule.

That would clear about 40% of the bullcrap things the "world" calls sports and streamline the Olympics.

NeezDutz writes:

with all the comments written here, the article worked. you are all giving this article traffic and time for ranking in the search engines by staying on the article long enough to read, then comment.
with each additional comment, the article ranks better. Brent did his job...good job dude

proudesteromom writes:

A good journalist is someone who can spark emotion in the readers. You did exactly that. Trouble is, your readers are not smart enough to realize it.

firstvoiceofreason writes:

Sorry, you are all wrong. This is totally on target and most of the Olympics are simply a time that can be categorized as, "Every few years when nothing good is on TV".
There are so many things wrong with the Olympic games and the least of it is televising or even holding competitions that don't matter. There is nothing to do with promoting goodwill anymore involved in this ridiculous commercial waste of time.

just_makin_it writes:

No Comment!

Osceola writes:

Worst, weird editorial on the subject of the Olympics ever.

The paper is doomed.

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

Sorry, but the Olympics are a 2-week giant snore-fest. And Phelps is a half-dolphin freak of nature. And London is at total gridlock and has been for months.

I hope Sport Goofy comes back to be the Olympic Corporate W_ore again. We need more ambiguous Disney characters representing the world's athletic prowess.

I'd rather see reruns of ANYTHING ever made on TV than watch that crap.

Go USA!!

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

Is that a picture of Brent Batten being thrown off the NDN corporate jet??

eagle1610 writes:

Brent hit it on the head - swimming has been exhaustively represented in the Olympics.

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

I want more synchronized swimming. Naked please.

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

The bruthas hate the water, is that right?

Max_Headroom writes:

A better article would have been about how any event where the winner is determined by somebodys opinion, (Boxing, Diving and all Gymnastics) should NOT be considered a sport.

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