September 17, 2004

JJ's Olympic Crusade: I had a silly idea. Then I explained it to someone and it didn't sound quite so silly. Now it would seem that I'm actually going to do it. I'd really value your comments and/or suggestions about my plan to try my hand at all 128 Olympic disciplines for which I would theoretically be eligible between now and the start of Beijing 2008. [The link is to a blogspot, so probably better to read from the bottom up if you want to get up to speed]

posted by JJ to feature requests at 07:39 AM - 42 comments

I must admit, I'm impressed. I assume you just want to *try* all the sports, not necessarily be able to do well at all the sports. I assume you're reasonably fit, but there's a few events there that are going to take some pretty hard training, just to be able to do. The notable ones I can see are: rings (gymnastics) 50km walk marathon pole vault equestrian events (I don't know how you'd go about 'having a go' at show jumping. You'd need to be an accomplished rider just to think about this). sailing events (laser I believe is technically very difficult) Some of the Gymnastics events take a *lot* of training and you'll need to have a good power ratio (i.e. not just be strong, but strong compared with your body weight), plus these events have frequent injury problems. Apart from that, I can't see any real obstacle to being able to *do* all of the events. If you want to compete in them, that's a different matter.

posted by BigCalm at 08:22 AM on September 17, 2004

I am being as careful as possible to avoid the word "compete" although I'm sure it slips out every so often. I expect the failing to be as big a part of the process as anything - I will train of course - I'm not going to just trun up to a marathon and feign injury after 100 yards - but I suspect there will be some things I simply cannot complete. The goal on the sponsorship form is to "try" not to compete or complete! Anyone got any thoughts about how best to use the events to raise money?

posted by JJ at 08:29 AM on September 17, 2004

First of all, this is a marvelous idea. And I'd hope you'd be filming this endeavour, as I would think the material would lend itself well to a documentary styled film. Perhaps sell the idea to a production company interested in reality broadcasting? Good Luck. You'll need it. As for the money making: Classic sport awareness campaign to raise the level of interest of the younger generation in these age old events? Businesses always want to help out the children.

posted by garfield at 09:15 AM on September 17, 2004

I have a contact in the BBC who maybe able to help with the filming side of things - I took the handycam to the first event (badminton singles) last night, but I'm hoping to get a TV company interested.

posted by JJ at 09:18 AM on September 17, 2004

Well, you never know, you might find that halfway through, you try say, the pole vault and find you've got the right build/genes to be an Olympic champion. Now that'd be a fantastic conclusion to the journey, but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high.

posted by BigCalm at 09:37 AM on September 17, 2004

*L* If I'd a penny for everyone who has said something like that so far - I suspect the main lesson to come from the whole thing will involve and new-found respect for just how boyond the norm. most of these sports require their champions to push themselves. In fairness though, it was the pole vault that largely inspired the quest - I watched the women's final from Athens and my wife said "You see, I could be the best pole vaulter in the world and not even know it because I've never even tired it!" So, if this all goes tit's up, it's my wife's fault.

posted by JJ at 10:05 AM on September 17, 2004

So, if this all goes tit's up, it's my wife's fault. So you haven't been married long, have you? Good luck with this, though, and I think the TV angle might be a good one, almost all the successful reality concepts have come out of the UK.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:19 AM on September 17, 2004

JJ, you are clearly mad, but I wish you luck in your endeavour nonetheless.

posted by squealy at 11:41 AM on September 17, 2004

JJ, you're not doing this in the hopes of qualifying for some of that Olympic nookie, are you? Whatever it is, do film it. Yes. Hoo hoo. And good luck, you crazy guy.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:05 PM on September 17, 2004

JJ: that is the coolest idea.....I wish you lots of luck, both heath-wise and for your charitable aspirations.

posted by smithers at 01:21 PM on September 17, 2004

btw, if you do follow worldcup's request and film the Olympic nookie, let us know.

posted by smithers at 01:21 PM on September 17, 2004

And holy crap, JJ, get a support team or something, just in case you're putting yourself in some sorta health risk. A team doctor, maybe, or a physiotherapist. Or at least a shapely masseuse. I'm curious, also, to see how your fitness improves (track your weight, resting heart rate, heart recovery, muscle mass, arm, chest, leg measurements, etc. etc. etc. - geek out!) as you go through your Olympian quest. This effort is beyond Herculean, I think.

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:45 PM on September 17, 2004

And you need some sorta media team, too. Pictures, where's the pictures? (At least one per blog post so we can see something of your attempt at the sport.) And press releases, press conferences, video clips. Damn. I'm thinking you should get sponsorship, or just sign up with one a dem big sports agents. Call Beckham and see what he has to say. This effort has sports-celebrity-freak-realityTV goodness written all over it. I mean, wouldn't it be funny if JJ got the top athlete from each sport to coach him, and then compete against him. Oh man, this would be so funny and cool. OK, it's already funny and cool. And we need a slogan for the Ultimate Olympian. "Go, JJ, Go!"?

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:52 PM on September 17, 2004

This is brilliant. Keep us posted with your updates. Also, let us know in advance when you're planning some of these. I'm in Oxford as well, and I'd happily take some pictures for the rest of 'em here to laugh at.

posted by salmacis at 04:48 AM on September 18, 2004

"JJust Do It"

posted by smithers at 01:01 PM on September 18, 2004

i may be able to hook you up with some archers in the UK. let me know if you're interested.

posted by goddam at 04:54 PM on September 18, 2004

smithers, That's much better than my effort. We're getting close here. Work with me, people! goddam, are those archers from Sherwood Forest? Hoohoohoo.

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:28 PM on September 18, 2004


posted by billsaysthis at 06:42 PM on September 18, 2004

bill, that would be great especially if JJ were doing the race walking event. JJ, Walker. DY-NO-MITE!!!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:12 AM on September 19, 2004

God I wish I would have thought about doing this back about 10-15 years ago. Hell, I may do it anyway, because it'd be a great way to lose some weight and get some exercise. I probably won't do every single event like you will, but I think I could do most of them.

posted by jasonbondshow at 12:10 AM on September 20, 2004

Thanks for the comments folks - always useful to get extra opinions. I've come to the conclusion over the weekend that I'm going at this a bit half-assed in terms of the publicity etc. That will hopefully change this week as I take counsel from a friend in PR and mount a serious charm offensive on the media. The idea of competing against the best in the world in each event is a nice one, and I'll confess that I have hopes that as the thing gains momentum, that may happen for the odd event - but just to do them all in the time allowed will be enough, nevermind trying to organise doing them all with the world champions. I'm working on the support team - I've contacted some university sports science departments around here and this week will bring follow-up phone calls. As for geeking out - like it was ever going to happen any other way. I ought to take some advice on getting a new website too - the blogger one doesn't quite have the functionality I need - it's too linear and I need to put on photos etc. salmacis - thanks for the photographer offer - for the moment, I've plenty of people willing to film/photograph me embarrass myself. Keep watching the website though - I hope to make a few of the events into "come and watch" things - I have wild fantasies about Kasaam supplying the stadium (and maybe even the opposition) for the football for instance. goddam - where are these archers you speak of? I'm keen to do that one fairly soon as it looks like it needs a fair amount of initial training before a novice could be let loose at a 70m target. Keep the ideas coming! Thank you for your support (and inferrences of lunacy).

posted by JJ at 05:09 AM on September 20, 2004

ok, got some archery info for you. i don't know anyone personally in the UK but i do know the bow company Merlin is supposed to be top notch. Chris or Ben Jones would be the guys to talk to. they may be able to help you directly or at least point you in the right direction. i don't know how close you are to their shop, but check out their web site. there's a listing of clubs that may be close to where you are.

posted by goddam at 03:46 PM on September 20, 2004

oh, and the type of target archery you're looking to do is run by FITA. the UK branch of that is GNAS (the Grand National Archery Society).

posted by goddam at 03:53 PM on September 20, 2004

Thanks goddam - it's all very mystical with its merlins and its grand national societies! The Merlin place is about an hour and half from here, so very useful link - thank you.

posted by JJ at 02:41 AM on September 21, 2004

someone just sent me some info on clubs in and near oxford. Oxford Archers and Harlequin Bowmen good luck.

posted by goddam at 10:31 AM on September 21, 2004

Where are the Knights who say Ni?

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:04 PM on September 21, 2004

I see the Harlequin Bowmen practising occasionally as I leave work. I tried archery recently on an activity weekend. Good fun - I wouldn't mind trying it more seriously.

posted by salmacis at 12:18 PM on September 21, 2004

Where are the Knights who say Ni? Ni!

posted by goddam at 02:12 PM on September 21, 2004

i want my damn shrubbery.

posted by garfield at 03:35 PM on September 21, 2004

From the Harlequin Bowmen site: "Until two years ago, Harlequin Bowmen had a fascinating facility for Indoor Shooting. It is believed that we may have been the only Club in the UK to shoot in an inflatable building. The building has since been demolished..." Deflated, surely, no? Thanks again for the links goddam - I can only hope that a condition of having a go at the archery isn't having to cut down the tallest tree in the forest with a herring.

posted by JJ at 02:31 AM on September 22, 2004

shooting archery in an inflatable building? well, if it turned out that the Harlequin Bowmen included an archer or two of lesser skill then i suppose they would have only themselves to blame for the loss of the facility.

posted by gspm at 06:50 AM on September 22, 2004

I just found this, and it was enough to lure me out of lurkerdom here. What a totally ridiculous and hilarious idea - I just love it. Anyway you could have an RSS feed of your blog, so that I can remember to see it more often? I'd love to follow this but am notoriously absent-minded.

posted by livii at 01:08 PM on September 24, 2004

livii, FeedBurner (among others, I'm sure) allows you to make your own feeds for uncooperative sites.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:45 PM on September 24, 2004

welcome livii

posted by garfield at 09:48 PM on September 24, 2004

Thanks, billsaysthis! I'd never used a feature like that before. I've created a feed for the site: Now I just have to get someone with a paid account to syndicate it on livejournal for me. Pathetic, I know. And thanks, garfield! I've been shy about jumping in here.

posted by livii at 11:02 PM on September 24, 2004

Also, because it hasn't been done yet, a link to this post (and the UltimateOlympian blog) should be in the leftnav of the SpoFi homepage for the next four years, at least. Oh, Pantheon ...

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:35 PM on September 24, 2004

In case anyone else uses LJ here, my friend created a feed for me - the address is: Please note that she picked the tag name, not I. ;)

posted by livii at 10:27 AM on September 25, 2004

Thanks livii. Subscribed!

posted by billsaysthis at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2004

What's all this? How does it work? Can I do something to make it better? [/techno fear]

posted by JJ at 04:45 AM on September 27, 2004

Table tennis tomorrow night at Peers School, eh? I literally am just round the corner... ;-)

posted by salmacis at 01:11 PM on September 28, 2004

I live a three minute walk from Peers. We're probably neighbours! You should come along if you've got the time - I'm a bit stuck about how I'm going to film myself playing table tennis - you could play cameraman! The table is booked for 8:30PM. Drop me a mail!

posted by JJ at 02:26 AM on September 29, 2004

Damn..never got a chance to read this yesterday... I probably would have been there otherwise.

posted by salmacis at 01:02 PM on September 30, 2004

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