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Friday, May 1, 2015

The Olympic Gym

I am loath to admit this, but there was a period of time, albeit a relatively brief period, where I went to the gym five days a week and not just one time per day. I went before my college classes and returned after class to continue my leotard-wearing, aerobic-type activity. 

To appear less insane, let me give a bit of an explanation. It was the 80's. Enough said? Too young to recall such a date? 

Well, the event of VCR tapes had combined with Jane Fonda's venture into exercising instruction. American dietary practices had determined that fat content in processed foods should be replaced by an enormous amount of refined sugar. I had recently acquired a checking account and was enticed into the oh-so-reasonable lifetime gym membership paid over a period of some months. 

I have now returned to my natural state of being which is evidently old, fat and sedimentary. 

However, and this is where I may become banned from internet trivia, there was a time, where in my current state, I could have conceivably won an Olympic medal. 

Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but there were events that did not involve physical prowess.

Rudolf Herman Eisenmenger’s “Runners at the Finish Line” 
won a silver medal at the 1936 art Olympics. 
No gold medal was awarded.

From 1912 to 1948, there were medals awarded in literature, music, painting, sculpture and architecture. 

My favorite would be Town Planning which must have drawn a large crowd of spectators.  After 1948, it was decided that art events should be a non-competitive cultural festival. Only amateurs were allowed to compete and it could be argued that participants talented in these areas would become professionals and not cling to amateur status in hopes of competing in the next Olympic games.

Hence the whole Dream Team circumvention of "professional" status, basketball being more lucrative than engraving and etching.

What is arguably the best events, were unofficial and part of the the 1900 games in France. An entire series of motor racing was presented including a delivery van race and a fire truck race, fire truck racing being the only event not won by the French. 

While the fire trucks were in the area, the French also hosted a fire fighting competition with volunteer and professional divisions. You will be happy to learn that Kansas City won the gold in the professional division. 

A few other competitions that year included angling, cannon shooting, kite flying and lifesaving. 

However it wasn't until the next Olympics that dueling became an event. Possibly not the best choice. 

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