/ 27 July 2016

​The tribe has spoken: Will Survivor Rio be titillating enough for us to tune in?

​the Tribe Has Spoken: Will Survivor Rio Be Titillating Enough For Us To Tune In?

This year’s Summer Olympics will feature three equestrian events, one of which is titled “equestering eventing”, seemingly to confirm that it is, indeed, an event. Other happenings include handball — which got me excited because it’s the only football rule I truly understand — and two American backyard favourites: trampoline and shooting.

Olympic sports that have been chopped over the years include croquet, polo, tug-of-war and a vaguely titled contest known only as “racquets”. It’s clear from that list that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not tolerate boredom in their quest to enthral us by “blending sport with culture and education to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort”, as it says on its website.

And I applaud them for it — yet, every Olympic year, by the time the controversy surrounding the hosting country’s ability to host the event dies down, I find myself feeling sorry for the countless volunteers who gave up the best part of their adolescence to take part in the opening ceremony of a 16-day yawn fest.

So I’ve decided to up my pre-game and have scanned the news to find something to whet my Olympic appetite. As it turns out, there is a lot. Australia already have officials scrambling after they refused to move into the (in my mind at least) Utopia-like Olympic Village on account of some exposed wires and puddles of water. Had Survivor been an Olympic sport, that would be the equivalent of the Aussies flying home before setting foot on the island. Instead, they moved into hotels surrounding the village.

Other athletes, presumably from actual villages in the developing world, have moved in, creating a scenario in which the Australians may be marched out of the confined space when they eventually do move in. Britain and New Zealand have indicated that they too will wait for the wires to be fixed, which sets the stage for an alliance-based showdown.

I’m not sure how the networks will cover the event, but if they do, I might skip the archery to watch it.

The other off-track issue involved the IOC leaving a back door open for Russian athletes to enter the Games. It is widely accepted that anyone in Russia with any sort of fitness level is severely tainted with performance enhancers, which means the only way for a Russian to make it to the Games will be through sheer will and a superhuman ability to charm someone while holding a cup of urine — a feat I know is near impossible. I hardly greet my doctor when I drop off a sample. Russian hopefuls will have to defend their urine while presumed guilty.

Again, I’m not sure how the networks will cover it — drones perhaps? If they do, I’m tuning in.

A question I often ask myself following the Olympics is: Who won? The world’s most-watched sporting event is nothing like a Fifa World Cup, when the winning country lifts a trophy and the losers get medals. At the Olympics it seems everyone loses. This is a letdown for a sports fan like myself, conditioned to believe sport is an acceptable substitute for intercontinental war.

In that sense, the Olympics is the Human World Cup, at which they award personal triumph rather than the resolve of the collective and, as a human myself, that alone might just be enough to convince me to tune in.