Each country should sponsor its own international athletic festival

Here’s a comment I posted elsewhere:

I’ve always thought that each country ought to sponsor an international athletic festival focusing on sports with which it has a particular association. The Olympics could be the Greek one, held in Elis every four years and featuring events from the ancient Olympics as well as sports popular in Greece now.

In the case of a sport that is big only in the host country, as kabaddi is in India, that host country could field one team, the rest of the world could combine to form another team, and they could square off. Not only would that be a big event in the host country, but there would always be a chance the sport would catch on someplace else.

If a sport is big in two countries, you’d have national teams from those countries and a rest-of-the-world team against them. So in Canada’s international games, you could have two Canadian curling teams taking on one Scottish team and one rest-of-the world team.

In the case of sports that are big in a great many countries, you could have a great many teams. Again, it would be good to have a rest-of-the-world team in each sport collecting talented players from countries that couldn’t compete on their own. And in individual sports, people could compete as individuals, with less of the nationalistic display that permeates the Olympics. Each festival would be a showcase for its host country, so the guests would honor their own countries simply by demonstrating that they were taught how to behave appropriately when abroad.

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