An 'Esther Williams' show to glide into 1984 Olympics
Many people believe the Olympics are big enough already, including some within the Olympic movement itself. Expansion though, is obviously inevitable. Nine new events will be contested at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Two of these -- rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming -- are sure to intrigue the artistic sensibilities of the spectating public. Anyone who has ever seen one of Esther William's old aquacades will be familiar with the beauty of synchronized swimming, to be performed in duets in Los Angeles. Rhythmic gymnastics, on the other hand, is an alien discipline to the American spectator, one the Soviets and East Europeans are sure to dominate.
But it's hard to imagine US viewers not immediately being captivated by this event, which seems to be part circus act, part gymnastics. The object is for the women atthletes to use one of several props, usually a ball, hoop, or long ribbon attached to a stick, in performing balletic floor exercises to music. The props supply added flair to what is already a crowd-pleasing sport.
A major reason given for expanding the Olympics is to broaden female participation. In track and field, therefore, Olympic officials are adding the 3,000-meter run and 400-meter hurdles for women, wiht a marathon a strong possibility for eventual inclusion. In cycling, te women will make their Olympic road racing debut; in swimming their 200-meter medley is being reinstated; and in shooting, they will compete in three disciplines.
The men haven't been totally forgotten, regaining chances to swim in two reinstated events, the 200-meter medley and 4x100 relay. Though open judo is being deleted, mixed windsurfing (a new yachting category) is getting a tryout.
In the future, some sports that have limited international followings may be dropped to make room for more popular ones, such as tennis or table tennis.