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State of the Union: Eight reasons why Smash Bros. should grace the Olympic Games
by Greg Mengel

Surf lifesaving. Tug of War. Air hockey. Korfball. Gliding. Bowling. Ballooning. Skijoring. Curling. Bavarian Curling. Saharan Curling. La Canne. Dumbbells. Underwater Hockey. Roller Hockey. Steveball. Weight training. Pelota. Floorball. Wushu. Ultimate Frisbee. Billiards. Orienteering. Longue paume. Icelandic Folk Wrestling. Boomerang Golf.

All but five of these sports[1] have been officially demonstrated, recognised, or played in the Olympic Games. Some of you may be asking yourself the same question that pestered my conscience after skimming that list.

...what... the name of all that is holy... Korfball? And how the hell did it make it into the Olympics?!?!

In a world in which 'Korfball' can ascend to the Valhalla of competition, Super Smash Bros. Brawl deserves a chance to show off its prowess as a conduit for intense competition on an international stage. It is my firm belief that the Olympic Committee should hear my proposition and accept Smash as the twenty-seventh Olympic summer sport.

This will never, ever happen. But here's why it should.

Stirring, inspirational theme music.

8: An Olympics in an Olympics...

By adding Snake and Sonic, Smash became something of a 'gaming Olympics' itself, welcoming two of the best-known gaming celebrities into its ring without asking to see their Nintendo ID card. By bringing a game that celebrates the unity of competition into a worldwide event that celebrates the unity of competition, it will either:

a) Have baked the most delicious double-layer cake of global fraternity the world has ever seen


b) Create a paradox that will EAT THE UNIVERSE.

...I feel the benefits outweigh the risks.

7: Armani? Take notes.

If you thought Michael Phelps' Gucci Tangerine Speedo[2] had the critics talking, just wait until you unlock the Pandora's Box of steampunk, cyberpunk, togapunk-wearing gamer-athletes sporting tabards inspired by lifetimes of social ostracisation and cosplay-induced creative independence. If you thought the 1970s Denver Broncos looked... interesting, then hold onto your armchair with a kung-fu grip when the Donkey Kong Solo Match Gold Medal winner steps up to the podium donning this.

6: Summer, Winter... we game all year round

So the Summer Olympics are full? No problem. Gamers will game regardless of wind, rain, sleet, snow, attack dogs, or nuclear/zombie apocalypse. Plus, making Smash a Winter Olympic event has an added bonus...

Smash on Ice.

5: The Dollars Make Sense

Gamers are a huge, largely untapped demographic in the eyes of the athletic world. It doesn't take a grand marketing poobah to divine that adding nerdier events to the Olympics would increase its viewership by a quantum leap. More viewers means more advertising attention, which leads to more Olympic exposure across the globe.

4: Do it for Japan

C'mon, these guys just went through a nuclear meltdown and a record-breaking earthquake. Things were so unluckily terrible for Japan this spring that, by late March, I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd turned on my car radio to hear from BBC News that Tokyo had been hit by a comet filled with alien smallpox. Doing a Japanese company like Nintendo the immense honour of bringing one of its products to the greatest athletic tournament on the planet is just the sort of pick-me-up our now-radioactive Asian brethren need to jump-start their spirits.

3: It's this or Starcraft

If you're planning on putting a game in the Olympics, your options are: violence, fantasy violence, space violence, anti-German violence, violence aimed at innocent testicles, steroid and chainsaw violence, Team America violence, Dance Dance Revolution violence, and Smash[3].

Which do you think the Olympic Committee would sooner go for: a silly little game where an electric rat donning a headband calls down a bolt of thunder that vaults a gorilla wearing a tie into the deep reaches of space, or one where a narrator compliments you for shooting a man in the face? A man with a family.

And maybe it's just me, but after three minutes of watching other people Starcraft I find myself... bored. Sorry South Korea, but Smash is a better spectator sport.

2: Painless to implement

Individual matches. Team brawls. Tier separation. All-giant metallic King Dedede matches on Final Destination. 300%-damage-at-start, Captain Falcon 4x4 brawls, with Bob-ombs at a "very high" drop rate. Pokemon-only battles, with Pokeballs raining from the sky. Home-run and football sport-themed matches. The list goes on.

Imagine: 'Smith, America (Captain Falcon) vs. Park, People's Democratic Republic of Korea (Kirby)', or 'Canada (Lucas/Samus) vs. South Africa (Peach/Toon Link)'. Like gymnastics, swimming or figure Skating, Smash has the potential for as many events as the Olympic Committee would want to provide.

But if that isn't enough, how about allowing dedicated team competitors whose entire purpose revolves around psyching out their opponents. Try concentrating on a match for the gold medal when some idiot from Switzerland keeps hovering, barely a foot away, doing this.

1: Greater minds, softer bodies

The real beauty of this game is anyone can play... Any normal Joe can be a sports hero! Haven't you ever wanted to be a sports hero?
- Basketball

The Olympics are terrific, but they'd benefit from a few cerebral events to test not just the brawn, but also the brains of the world. Chess, for example, is an recognised sport in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee, though it has yet to make its first Olympic berth. Toss an intellectual challenge like chess or Smash out there for the nerds of the world, and the Olympics will quickly find themselves tapping into a demographic traditionally uninterested in its focus on athletics.

Anyone who has taken the time to watch The King of Kong (a surprisingly heartwarming documentary about a man's quest for the world record high score on the original Donkey Kong Arcade) knows that people will put in the same blood, sweat and tears on a screen, that organised athletics will in competition. Give these and millions of other closeted competitors a laureled goal to train for, and they'll come out of the woodwork.

It'd be good for Olympic business, and it would sear jock and nerd together in brotherhood under the flame of competition. Isn't that spirit of unity what the Olympics is all about?

...Korfball... *shakes fist at sunset*


[1] - Guess which five in the comments section and I'll mail you ...umm... a shiny American quarter. ...and this half-eaten rubber band.^
[2] - Never happened.^
[3] - Also described as 'cartoony violence'.^

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- Greg Mengel

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