Contests in skills for modern life

The problem. Modern Olympic sports focus on the skills of the warrior and hunter - the running and leaping and throwing and hitting, the records for going fast and high and far and hard, and for teams like hunting bands. These skills were needed for ancient Greece. What skills beyond healthy exercise for everyone are more needed for elites today?

A solution - SkillOlympics

Modern Skill events such as sheep-shearing and timber-cutting could nto be great spectator sports before TV. But TV can make now great spectator sport out of many skills needed for modern life, not just for ancient Greece. SkillOlympics would make marvellous TV. A videocamera can pick up every detail of the skills of a movement, play it slow, edit a sequence and summarise it, and show people racing neck and neck who may not even be in the same stadium or studio.

Events for SkillOlympics:

Almost any skill can be developed for Skill-Olympics if a club can organise to arrange events. Weeding, cartooning, dishwashing tested against machines, skilful safe-driving, packing lunches, floor-cleaning, mending and patching, crochet, ditch-digging, reading and remembering a book, hairdressing, taking a dog for a run, bricklaying, monster jigsaws, tree-climbing, counter-checkout, shop-window-displays with materials given, impromptu verse, recitation, gift-wrapping, ditch-digging, toddler-training, thistle-slashing, blackberry-destroying, manual lawnmowing, reading to toddlers, DIY carpentry, carpet cleaning, getting babies to sleep with lullabies, getting correct change from a purseful of coins, - and at the end of the event, your home or workplace can be far better than it was before!

SkillOlympics events need not be limited to international events. Each country can bring entrants for its own cultural special skills - such as carving in wood or stone, graffiti, basket-making, cuisine, origami, elaborate hair-dressing, embroidered jackets, inventing novelties, calligraphy, yodeling, singing lullabies.

Some of the old Greek Olympian contests in poetry and drama and music were dropped when Olympics were revived because modern Olympics could focus only on what can be seen from a distance, dramatically, by enormous audiences. They required scores that can be objectively measured or timed. But since they can now be shown in detail by television cameras and judged by television panels, these ancient competitions could also be reinstated as international SkillOlympic events.

Advantages of SkillOlympics.

  • Spectators enjoy the thrills of the contest - and find themselves learning the skills too.
  • Years spent training for SkillOlympics are not wasted for the losers, nor for the victors, long after their medals. SportsOlympics competitors, losers and winners, can devote their youth to going up and down or to and fro or round and round e.g. 35,000 kilometres traversed in paddle practise was regarded as 'wasted' by a Barcelona kayak competitor who 'only got bronze'.
  • Everyone can have a chance to compete in a SkillOlympics, because such a wider variety of talent can be encouraged, not just physical abilities that are limited to the few who are constitutionally outstanding.
  • Non-sexist. In many skills in SkillOlympics men and women can compete together without discrimination. In SportsOlympics, men and women have to compete separately in almost all events, because record-making women cannot reach the standard of the record-breaking men. This is because in early societies men evolved as the hunter warriors, valuing great physical strength and speed for sudden intense exertion, but women as gardener-gatherers needed endurance and patience for constant toil. So for young girls and women, outdoor games and sports have been intrinsically enjoyable non-competitive pastimes, whereas they have been tests of manhood for primitive male egos.
  • No doping and other such scandals that bedevil Sports Olympics. They would hardly help in a SkillOlympics. Nobody need risk their future health by drugging up - which is likely only to slug up their skills.
  • SkillOlympics can further attract tourists by encouraging picturesque local skills and culture - which will also benefit the host town for a generation.
  • Any little place can start up its SkillOlympics. It does not need vast and varied stadia, as long as there can be a TV audience somewhere in the world.
  • SkillOlympics are less injurious.

Panels of judges can rate subjective features like quality of product and grace of movement, and a common final judgement is blazoned at the touch of a computer key.