I wonder why we don’t have Geriatric Olympics? Perhaps because few people would admit to being old, yet we’re the subject of study in universities, hospitals, social services, so why are we shy? It would be an opportunity to get a lot of attention. Some of us would take our teeth out for that.
We might overcome our reluctance at the prospect of a medal. Age is supposed to triumph over experience. That’s where we come in, it’s our forte. It would incentivize octogenarians.
Surfing the net would be a popular sport, one that’s already played with aplomb by the grey generation. Just make the basketball court a bit smaller and lower the baskets to waist height. People who aspire to strolling basketball should be growing their ponytails now. The Brazil Olympics are only four years away.
I couldn’t even win a slow walking race, let alone a fast one. But I can swim. Not fast, but given that I didn’t learn until I was 41, it’s a triumph to stay afloat. So I’m watching Michael Phelps swimming the butterfly, and studying his turn techniques. His arms take a welcome break after the turn until his torso has wiggled several times, and then the arms come back into play. OK, I’ve got it; I’ll practice that next time I’m at the Wellness Center pool. In four years I’ll either have perfected it or expired (more likely the latter) but it’s aspiration that counts in the Olympics ideal.
I’m also studying the cycling. In deference to our age they should bring in the tricycle, so we don’t fall off. Why have we never seen a tricycle race? I want to wear the yellow shirt and cross the line with my arms in the air; that’s hazardous on two wheels.
Think of the fashion spin-offs: most of us already have enough trainer shoes in our closets to compete now. The American trend for seniors wearing shorts would spread at last to Europe. (Some old people have surprisingly nice knees but British pensioners would no sooner be seen in public wearing shorts, than pyjamas.) Skiing down nursery slopes, we could tuck our hearing aids under our knitted hats. Instead of hockey sticks we could wield canes.
I’m already adapting my diet. In place of rib-eye, I’m going for vegetarian variety, replacing vino with vegetable juice; cheese and chocolate with chia seeds and tequila with tea (only kidding, I don’t drink tea). Spinach will replace spaghetti. Donuts and dumplings are out, eggs and edamame are in; pork and Parmesan will give way to chicken and coriander.
We could stage the hundred yards dash in wheelchairs. The ones on foot have to be fit but the passengers could just be old and game. The pole vault could be a problem and not for the faint hearted. On reflection the hop, skip and jump would be too confusing. The long jump would have to be short.
Those of us too bulky to be beautiful could put the shot or throw the discus. If it only goes two yards, who cares? It’s participating that’s important, not the winning. I know a lot of game old girls and a few burly old boys who’d have a go.
The high dives would have to be replaced by smooth splashes. And instead of sculling we could have punts with outboard motors.
The relay races would be a real crowd pleaser. However late you are in the field, if you saved your best runner till last, your team could streak ahead in the back straight. The roar of the crowd would be terrific.
The Marathon could be shortened to 2.7 miles. Instead of staging posts to grab a sip of water, contestants could squirt nitrates under the tongue. There could be a mandated stop half way to check blood pressure; the sit down would be therapeutic. There should be a special medal at the end of the Games for the most popular contestant, to give everyone a chance to triumph. One could come last in every event and still win The Grossest with the Mostest contest.
We might come unstuck during doping tests because of all our meds but they’d have to make allowances for that. Blood pressure medication cannot be a banned substance or the Games will peter out and spoil the closing ceremony. They would have to leave out exercises on the bar and gymnastics for the same reason. Winners on the podium would need folding seats because it’s a long time to stand.
There are too many oldie couch potatoes waiting to die. What an incentive it would be to stay alive for another four years, either for a trip to compete in Brazil, or for a ticket to watch the fun. I’d buy it.