Monday, August 6, 2012
Why can't karting be an Olympic sport?
It's just a shame I don't share their enthusiasm; I'm not militantly anti-Olympics by any means, just relatively indifferent in much the same way I am with any global sporting spectacular that doesn't involve engines. The only horsepower at London 2012 is the sort Zara Phillips enjoys.
Which got me thinking; why can't motorsport feature in the Olympics in future? If you count the first modern Olympic Games as the IOC's efforts in Athens in 1896, then the games aren't even as the old as the car itself, a chap called Karl Benz having invented his first runabout a decade earlier. Almost as soon as Karl had finished did someone suggest it'd be sporting to race one of these newfangled horseless carriages against another, and as a result motorsport has generally been regarded as a proper form of competition for more than a century.
It's about time motorsport finally featured in the Games and I've got just the thing lined up; karting. Because it's the stepping stone to almost every other form of automotive competition, it's the fairest and purest form of motorsport, giving everyone from the ballsy beginner to the hardened Le Mans veteran a fair crack at the whip.
All sorts of Olympic sports involve some sort of technology by their very nature, from Bradley Wiggins' bike to Rebecca Adlington's swimsuit, both of which I'm sure are more sophisticated and scientifically developed for speed than their supermarket equivalents. Karting, I know from personal experience, puts everyone on a level playing field and sorts out the wannabes from the truly quick - and there's no room for racing driver excuses.
It'd also finally answer one of motorsport's trickiest questions - who, truly, is the fastest? It's hard to argue Michael Schumacher is undisputably the best driver of modern times if his string of championship wins were backed up by the might of Ferrari married to the technical genius of Ross Brawn (we'll gloss over Michael's ‘difficult third album' drives for Mercedes). But if he beat Ken Block, Sebastian Loeb, Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and The Stig in identical karts to take the Olympic Karting gold medal, we'd know for sure. Providing there's no doping involved, of course.
I know you're probably thinking it's a sport that involves more machine than man but if you gave the cream of the world's drivers identical karts and set them off on an identical London 2012 track, it'd be fair game. And - to me at least - even more watchable than the beach volleyball.