The next Olympic sport – You won’t believe it when you hear it

A new Olympic sport has been brought to the attention of the Olympic organizing committee and is being seriously considered for the next summer Olympic Games. The sport has definitely caught the attention of many groups some of which support the bid and a few that are outraged it’s even being considered. The official announcement on whether the sport will be included for 2012 will happen in the next few days but there are already rumours that it looks like a done deal.

So what’s this new sport creating quite a stir? First, let me say that you probably won’t believe it when you read it. The new Olympic sport being considered as a demonstration sport for the next 2012 Olympics is…. weight loss! That’s right you read that correctly. In order to raise awareness and fight the “war on obesity” a group of prominent doctors, nutritionists, psychologist along with the Biggest Losers’ personal trainers have banned together and have been working to get this sport into the Olympics.   

Interest to join teams from weight loss athletes around the world has ballooned up to “unprecedented numbers”. In the US alone, as of this writing, over 100,000 people have applied for ten spots on the U.S. team and over 50,000 for spots on the Canadian team. The news about the sport has been spreading throughout Facebook and there have been over 200,000 Tweets discussing the value of adding this sport to the Olympic Games. What’s still unclear is how the sport will run and judged but those details haven’t been released yet. No doubt there will be some reality show spin-off from following these athletes on their quest to get to the Olympics.

While on the surface this new sport seems like a good idea there are groups that are protesting strongly against its inclusion. The weight loss/fad-diet industries are up-in-arms and are raising concerns that pushing obese clients to perform like Olympic athletes could result in injury and even death. Top representatives and CEOs from some of the largest corporations held a press conference voicing their concerns. They cite, “we are just looking out for our customers and their best interest”. One has to wonder if they are really so concerned about their customers or more concerned about saving their bottom lines and maintaining their healthy profits. After all they count on weight loss clients being unsuccessful in their bid to lose weight and continue to spend their money on useless products supporting this billion dollar industry.

Another group who are voicing their concerns is the fast food industry. They have petitioned the highest level of government to ensure that weight loss does not become an Olympic sport. Their main argument is that it would disrupt their business so much that people would start demanding better quality food or worse, a complete closure of many popular fast food chains as athletes avoid eating at these calorie- laden establishments. Even main-stream restaurants owners are worried because they are already being asked to provide nutritional information on their menus as athletes prepare for competition.

The soft drink industry has made numerous attempts to lobby against the proposed weight loss sport citing that coaches, doctors and nutritionists are warning weight loss athletes not to drink their product. They have sought legal counsel and are threatening to sue the Olympic committee if they allow the sport of weight loss into the Olympics. It has been reported but not substantiated that the soft drink industry has spent over a billion dollars to lobby against the sport. Suffice it to say, Government officials and Olympic committee members are feeling the pinch from all sides but to their credit, are not being swayed.

The controversy that’s been stirred by including weight loss into the Olympics is unprecedented. But it’s the sign of the times as peoples’ waist lines continue to grow at an alarming rate. With the rise of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and morbidity it was only a matter of time before someone took some initiative to think outside-the-box and come up with a possible solution the obesity epidemic. Let’s cross our fingers and hope we will see athletes from all countries competing in this new and exciting sport.

Well hopefully by now you’ve realized that what I’ve written is a fable and not based on fact or reality. But maybe it could be real. Perhaps someday those of us in the health/fitness community will ban together and come up with creative solutions to help people get back to a healthy size. I feel confident we can turn the tides of the obesity epidemic and if we use our imaginations, someday, together we will find a solution.  Who knows maybe weight loss being an Olympic sport is not such a big idea in the end.