As Olympic fever sweeps the nation, one can only imagine the envy with which our civic fathers will eye Atlanta. But why suffer through two weeks of endless telecasts and Coke commercials while beautiful weather lingers too-briefly in Chicago? We should just watch our own damn Olympics, adapted to highlight aspects that make Chicago special. Below, a list of events we’d really like to see this month. Granted, some may seem unlikely, but in a month where millions of viewers worldwide will watch beach volleyball and mountain biking debut as Olympic events—with bowling and ballroom dancing under consideration—nothing seems too impossible.
• Heist Biathlon: Requiring the same sang froid as the winter biathlon, this event celebrates the city’s long tradition of bank robbery. From a standing start, contestants will traverse an obstacle course with a prone-to-jamming Raven pistol in one hand and a bag of bills in the other. Every two blocks, they must stop, empty the chamber at a target and reload. At the midpoint, the dye pack inside the bank bag will explode, requiring contestants to scramble for money in a simulated windy street. Scoring will be based on time, shooting accuracy and total value of all currency held at the finish line
• Pol vaulting: Just as the heptathlon mirrors the nobleman’s life circa 1900, pol vaulting draws its inspiration from the councilman’s life, circa 1996. Using rules of engagement adapted from the demolition derby, fifty contestants will enter an arena modeled on the City Council chambers. In the first stage, competitors will perform a dance similar to team rhythmic gymnastics. To progress, they must move in syncopated motion to perfectly match the actions of a mayoral facsimile. Survivors of this heat will go on to what’s essentially a massive “King of the Mountain” competition, with the central podium as its focal point. Finally, contestants will run an obstacle course through City Hall, with bonus points for grabbing “kickback” envelopes hidden along the route. (As Newcity went to press, the rules committee remained deadlocked on whether or not competitors should suffer the added impediment of wearing a bulky “wire” during this final sprint.)
• Urban basketball: Considered “a natural evolution” by sports historians, this formalization of the popular game appropriately makes its debut in Chicago, where stars from Isiah Thomas to Juwan Howard have trained on the blacktop. The international “no blood, no foul” rules will be strictly enforced. Bonus points will awarded for imaginative “woofing” of opposing players, to be monitored through the use of body mics, translators and a non-partisan team of courtside judges. Penalty points will be assessed for excessive passing. All nets must be chainlink steel, and immediate victory will be secured by destroying the other team’s rim.
• Fencing: In addition to epee, saber and foil, the fencing category will now include the “booty” division, in which contestants will sprint a shopping cart full of “hot” goods around the former site of the Maxwell Street market. After selling all the booty, the athletes will race to the finish line, using the shopping carts as wheeled weapons to “neutralize” opponents. In the event of a tie, finalists will re-run the course in a sudden-death race, with victory awarded to the first one who sells the shopping cart.