July 30, 2011

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the plunge for distance

As I mentioned in May, I once had a dream that I had won a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics. When challenged over the unlikeliness of my memory, I explained to my dream interlocutor that it was in the plunge for distance, which isn't on TV so it doesn't get any good athletes. Now, somebody has notified me that they've just created a Wikipedia page on this long-lost sport:
In later years, the event was subject to criticism as "not an athletic event at all," but instead a competition favoring "mere mountains of fat who fall in the water more or less successfully and depend upon inertia to get their points for them."[5] John Kiernan, sports writer for the New York Times, once described the event as the "slowest thing in the way of athletic competition", and that "the stylish-stout chaps who go in for this strenuous event merely throw themselves heavily into the water and float along like icebergs in the ship lanes."[6] Similarly, an 1893 English report on the sport noted that spectators were not enamored of it, as the diver "moves after thirty or forty feet at a pace somewhat akin to a snail, and to the uninitiated the contests appear absolute wastes of time."[7]

It's well-written enough that some Wikipedia editor will probably delete all the amusing parts. (That's my main criticism of Wikipedia: not that it gets facts wrong, but that it is allergic to good writing.)

23 comments:

robert61 said...

What a good page. I would have guessed that a slim profile that minimizes drag would make the most difference, but apparently low density and buoyancy are what really reduce drag.

Kylie said...

Great. This is exactly the kind of thing that triggers my nightmares of drowning and/or being trapped underwater. And right before bedtime, too.

Anonymous said...

"It's well-written enough that some Wikipedia editor will probably delete all the amusing parts."

Ah, wikipedia, purveyor of falsehoods.

Anonymous said...

They also had tug-of-war at the 1904 Olympics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1904_Summer_Olympics#Sports

Would love to see that again at the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7txP9MOCqs

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soVhgiJPngk

Anonymous said...

self-indulgent.

Anonymous said...

You're starting to remind me of "FeministX." Her blog was all an elaborate act of masturbation.

wren said...

Plunge for distance FTW.

Sort of.

Anonymous said...

It's unusual that a niche sport would vanish. More likely the other way round. When I was a kid playing semi-pro soccer, I was really good at ball juggling tricks, which cut me zero slack at all with the hard cases in the game. In fact, they tried harder to break my legs. These days, ball juggling is it's own fledgling sport known as 'Freestyle'. I suppose I was just ahead of my time.
Glibert P.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:59: Nothing to be self indulgent about, eh? Otherwise why the snarky comment?
Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:03. You get what you pay for, Big Shot. Chip in a few large and maybe you'll get to influence editorial policy.
G.P.

Anonymous said...

Chip in a few large and maybe you'll get to influence editorial policy.

Ssshhhhh - the next thing you know, this blog will be pwned by the likes of David Gelbaum.

Marlowe said...

With all the fat boys around these days couldn't this event make a comeback in order to increase physical diversity at Olympiads?

ironrailsironweights said...

It's unusual that a niche sport would vanish. More likely the other way round.

Bull riding was originally just one of several events in a rodeo. It became more and more popular, to the point that about 20 years ago some riders decided to form a separate offshoot organization just for bull riding, and today it's substantially more popular than the parent sport.

[Interesting note: although hardly anything seems more all-American than rodeo, four of the current top five pro bull riders are Brazilian.]

Peter

Kylie said...

"You're starting to remind me of "FeministX." Her blog was all an elaborate act of masturbation."

Right. And you were doing what while you read her blog?

I thought so.

You really owe me an apology for those visuals.

Anonymous said...

"self-indulgent"

This doesn't bother me. I'll start worrying when Sailer has dreams about winning a gold in Synchro Swimming with, as his partner, a clone of himself.

Anonymous said...

You're starting to remind me of "FeministX." Her blog was all an elaborate act of masturbation.


This is from the same twit who brought you:


The fundamental truth that you will NEVER admit to but that I suspect you feel is that you don't think black people are as fully human as white people

in the previous thread. Somebody has a huge crush on Steve.

njartist said...

Rumor has it that this sport was discontinued after it was discovered that the winner was a floating corpse.

James Kabala said...

Nah, anything well-written or humorous is probably safe it is in quotation marks with a footnote (as these are). It is good writing by the contributors themselves that someone would come in and revises.

Anonymous said...

Though Sailer dreamt of a sports event, it actually says more about his psychology than physicality. Sailer believes himself to be submerging beneath the official story to get to the truth. Instead of accepting the surface as reality, he feels a need to sink below and see what lies beneath.

Not long ago, there was a story about a dead black woman at the bottom of a swimming pool for three days. Most people just looked at the surface of the water and thought all was well when, in fact, there was a body rotting down there.
Nixon has his plumbers, and Sailer would be a plunger.
Maybe 'plunger' should mean a politically incorrect person willing to dive deep for hidden truths.

Either that or Sailer wants to be Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Anonymous said...

Matt Drudge and Steve Plunger. Maybe they should team up.

Anonymous said...

Plunger Man. Superhero idea?

This is how it goes. We first see Sailer as Clark Kent kind of guy. But he hears PC bullshit and danger. He dives into the nearest pool, pond, lake(or tub) and emerges as plunger man. His weapon? Toilet plunger which he uses to pump the truth out of PC lowlifes?