Wednesday, May 30, 2007

4 Year Cycles

Have you ever noticed that the Olympics fall every four years as do most sports in terms of world cups e.g. soccer, rugby, cricket etc.

Now that is a great idea in one sense as it makes it very special to win one. The problem is that it makes winning one of these events rather based too much on luck rather than on skill.

Take an athlete who gets a slight injury just before the Olympics (e.g. Sarah Ulmer in 2000) and thus it is 8 years between opportunities. Or take a rugby team that has a key player injured (Tana Umaga in 2003) at the wrong time or gets food poisoning before a final (All Blacks 1995) or has a one off shocker despite being the dominant team for the years before and after (1999, 2003 All Blacks). In addition, as we see in rugby of late, the internationals between world cups are being devalued because it is world cup or bust. The latest French team to come here is a joke!

I think we should look at a different model for judging greatness in sport rather than basing it on one performance on one week every four years or on a tournament every four years. In terms of Athletics etc, world championships and world records are a better judge than Olympic golds. In terms of rugby, world rankings and series and consistency should be rewarded. Winning a world cup is not the be all and end all surely.

I like the netball approach, a world champs every two years. Of course in cricket it is irrelevant as whatever cycle is used the Australians are so utterly superior that they win anyway!

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