Nine Unarguable Reasons why Synchronised Swimming is the Only True Olympic Sport

(as told to mark s by his top pal dr risk*) (and glossed a bit but NOT MUCH!!)

1. Dr Risk – who is three-quarters sea otter btw – wz captain of her college Synchro team
2. She calls it “Synchro” = bcz it is the Techno of sport!!!
3. It requires the judges to MAKE JUDGMENTS instead of looking at a stupid stopwatch or counting on their fingers = it dispenses with the tyranny of the ordinal over the cardinal HURRAH!! (what kind of a “sport” are the hundred metres or the marathon?) (don’t get me even STARTED on how many ways races are lame) (except possibly plant-pot races) (*struggles not to get started*)
4. At the climactic point of one of the events Dr Risk captained back in the day, an “audience member” – viz actually the captain of the male waterpolo team in disguise – was seized from the audience, dragged into the pool, stripped and “drowned” (ie kept underwater w/o breathing until no one present not already in on the surprise believed he could still be alive); then raised to the surface in a moving busby berkley-esque pieta. All this – says Dr Risk – is entirely within the framework of Syncho’s OFFICIAL possibilities. If only the sport as played at international level weren’t ruled by corporate sponsors and frightened rockist politics…
5. …viz in 1996, for the Atlanta Olympics, the first time the team Synchro event was included, the French team – very highly regarded and generally expected to win – were banned, by their own sports minister, Guy Drut, from performing the routine they had chosen and worked on, which contrasted the exciting style and ugly reality of Nazism: because it risked “being misinterpreted” (ie it risks the judges having to MAKE JUDGMENTS!!); and also apparently because there were fears that it would BRING SYNCHRO INTO DISREPUTE!! (!) (!!)
6. As Dr Risk points out, Olympic coverage does not have a good record rejecting the Leni Reifenstahl swagger. Well here’s a sport which – of necessity – includes intense formation discipline and a shedload of buffed fit bodies, plus (out of its own hundred-year history) a significant element of creative scene-making. It demands technique, stamina, a gift for pattern-making and dramatic spectacle – ie an awareness form-as-content and content-as-form – and almost inevitably (if presently somewhat invisibly) involves intensities of sexuality, strength vs grace, passion vs calculation, ritual vs invention, intelligence vs instinct…
7. Hence ie ==> it’s already wide open for:
i. routines which expand to expose the commercialisation, trivialisation, routinisation and general manipulative-spectacular degradation of sport (and indeed life) as a whole;
ii. acts of intervention which turn the tables on the judges;
iii. fourth-wall-busting** coups de theatres so potentially startling and exciting and unexpected that, by being marked low or banned or deemed inappropriate, will allow/encourage we the audience – in judging the judgments of the judges etc – to confront the roots of our own cultural habits, prejudices and terrors
8. Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams
9. If we take the Olympian ideal seriously, says Dr Risk – on its origins as much as its revival – then isn’t Synchro actually nearly the ONLY sport which makes the cut? Or anyway it would be, if (as Dr Risk insists they ought for every possible reason to be) the swimmers were BUCK NAKED…

*(For some reason my informant requested this cognomen. Admittedly she uses it quite a lot elsewhere. Having experienced her idea of “getting you to the airport on time” I have to say she has earned it.)
**(Except unlike feeble old cinema or proscenium-arch theatre Synchro can bust ALL FOUR WALLS AT ONCE!!)