Swifter, higher, stronger
By Eric Immerman
Special to Page 2

News Item: Seeking to broaden its marketing appeal and attract the highly coveted younger demographic, the International Olympic Committee announced the addition of BMX racing to the Summer Games earlier this week.

This is merely the latest in a recent trend of alternative Olympic events. What began in ancient Greece with such traditional competitions as the foot race, jumping, discus and wrestling, the Olympic competitions of today now consist of such "events" as ballroom dancing and trampoline (with bridge set to be added at the 2006 Winter Games).

And if you think that's bad, check out these 10 other "sports" being considered for Olympic status:

Capri Sun
The enigma of the juice box industry is ready to contribute to the Olympic legacy.
1. Straw-Puncturing Capri-Sun Pouches: The latest addition to the Olympiad requires intense skill and high levels of concentration. It combines the strength of Greco Roman Wrestling with the eye-hand coordination of archery ... and the sheer ridiculousness of rhythmic gymnastics. Contestants are given one opportunity to successfully puncture the slick and deceptively tough exterior of the classic drink pouch without breaking the flimsy straw or spilling so much as one drop of fruit juice goodness.

2. Imperialism: Countries compete against one another -- and the clock -- to aggressively implement their policy of expansionism in a diabolical effort to extend their political and economic influence around the globe. The country to accomplish this task in the shortest amount of time, and with the least amount of rebel dissent, will be awarded the Gold Medal and totalitarian rule over the Universe.

3. Figure Scathing: In this Winter Olympic event, insecure women without a strong paternal influence in their lives seek affirmation and attention from a panel of judges -- including Howard Stern, Gary Dell'Abate, Artie Lange and Fred Norris -- who evaluate the contestants' bodies with brutal honesty, humiliating remarks and a red laser pointer. Points are deducted for cellulite, visible stretch marks and asymmetrical breast implants.

4. Freestyle Panic Attacks: Incorporated to reflect the world's increasingly volatile political climate, this event allows competitors to lose their mind in a variety of ways. Athletes might become freaked out by the "mysterious white powder" covering the mountains, call security regarding a suspicious open flame, or simply lose sleep worrying about how to coordinate their spandex body suits with the color-coded terror alert system.

5. Tearjerking: Athletes in this competition are required to submit emotionally gripping video montages -- set to James Taylor songs -- chronicling their bravery and perseverance. Contestants are judged in several categories, including Overcoming Religious Oppression and Overcoming Prosthetic Limbs, with the winner being the one who elicits the greatest amount of sympathy, compassion and salty discharge.

James Taylor
Scheduled to perform, Mr. Taylor himself. No flash photography please.
6. 4x100 "Find The Afikomen" Relay: After the sun sets, individual team members take turns searching for part of a piece of Matzoh hidden somewhere in the Track & Field stadium. Why is this event different than any other event? Because the victorious teammates are awarded gold-plated Hanukkah gilt and $2 a piece from the employed Uncle.

7. Synchronized Frat House Party Shutdown: All the participants, including Brothers, pledges and invited guests, work together in concert to speedily shut down a dry-campus fraternity party in order to avoid certain social probation. This modern day decathlon consists of 10 grueling events, including the subtle art of keeping the Dean occupied, masking the scent of cheap beer with cleaning detergent and bleach, and running throughout the multi-purpose room, warning others while simultaneously inhaling a Whippet.

8. Diorama Construction: Giving down-on-their-luck shoeboxes a second chance at life.

9. Speed Retainer Soaking: Participants compete in a mad dash to locate their aluminum alloy and plastic mouthpiece from a balled-up paper towel inside one of several Olympic Village dumpsters. Then they must quickly marinate the rapidly corroding retainer in a powerful cleansing solvent and completely rid it of germs and Jujyfruit residue before their parents find out and insist that they wear headgear!

10. Angola Dignity Shredding: Formerly known as USA Men's Basketball.

Eric Immerman is a contributing comedy writer to ESPN The Magazine and "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn." His material also has been featured on Laugh.com. He can be reached at eimmerman@hotmail.com





OLYMPIC SHAKEUP

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