Motorsport should be in the Olympics
Is it about time we got some serious horsepower and high-octane thrills at the Olympic Games by admitting motorsport events? Tim Kendall thinks it is...
As the nation basks in a warm Olympic glow, drunk on national sporting pride and a world away from last summer’s riots, I can’t help but feel there’s something missing. Motorsport. Why isn’t it an Olympic discipline?
Hear me out on this – it’s not so ridiculous. Whilst commanding a racing car may not strictly be a human endeavour in the same vein as blue riband Olympic events like the 100m sprint, since when has using tools or machinery been a barrier to becoming part of the Olympic dream?
Sailing, rowing, archery, windsurfing, shooting, cycling, canoeing – the list goes on. All of these necessitate the coupling of athlete with machine or equipment, and participants in these sports can aspire to be part of the Olympic dream. So why can’t racing drivers?
"Most of the top drivers in motorsport are highly trained athletes in their own right"
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for them. But heck, we’re getting golf at the 2016 Games in Rio – surely if a bunch of portly chaps can go for a wander with a bag of expensive sticks and pick up an Olympic medal, then racing drivers should be allowed a chance at glory on the Olympic stage?
Most of the top drivers in motorsport are highly trained athletes in their own right – the demands placed on drivers in F1 make that a given. Button, for instance, is gearing up for the gruelling Ironman Triathlon contest as we speak.
And it’s not as if they’re up to much at this time of year. With Formula One on holiday for a month, the reality is most drivers will be sunbathing forlornly on their yachts and feeling a bit left out as Olympic fever hogs the limelight.
"the cream of motorsport’s crop would no doubt rise to the challenge of representing their nations on the Olympic stage"
Of course, they’re all actually training like mad or riding the corporate sponsors’ merry-go-round. Yet given the opportunity, the cream of motorsport’s crop would no doubt rise to the challenge of representing their nations on the Olympic stage. I can’t see a reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to.
Many of us will have watched the chaotic magnificence of the Olympic opening ceremony, agog with amusement and pride – from the industrial revolution through to Mr Bean, James Bond, a skydiving Queen and grime music. Good or bad, as a nation we’ve invented it all, we’ve seen it all… we’ve done it all.
But did anyone else think Danny Boyle missed a trick? Yes, a pair of McLarens piloted by Lewis and Jenson, holding the Olympic flame aloft while doughnuting the Olympic rings with balletic precision would have finished things off nicely…
Follow Tim Kendall on Twitter: @drivingtalk
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