We should preface this by asking you to consider this item below as an opinion piece, just for a bit of fun, not to be taken seriously, but maybe we make some interesting points too.
Unlike the World Cup events held for many of our favourite sports, there are actually quite a lot of countries who participate in the MXoN, it’s held annually (and that’s got to be better than just once every four years, like rugby or football, right?) and, unlike the Summer Olympics, every team has exactly the same number of participants (just three individuals to represent each country at the MXoN).
Don’t you cringe when you hear the 789-member Team USA holler and bray about winning 76 golds, 99 silvers and 12,600 bronze medals at the Summer Olympics, while little old Estonia or Fiji get to share one between them.
Maybe the points or medals allocation should be modified depending on the size of a country’s population. Give the medals a numeral value – perhaps golds are worth 100 points, silvers worth 50 and bronze worth 25 – then divide each nation’s total by their team sizes or perhaps by their national population figures.
You can see the Summer Olympics medals table would have a vastly different appearance.
That’s also why we think the MXoN is actually so much better than the real Olympics – it’s our three competitors versus the three best riders from everywhere else.
Okay, we don’t have 20,000 top racers in this country from which to select our trio, but anyway we’ve still been boxing well above our weight at the MXoN for many years now haven’t we?
In recent years, Team New Zealand has finished in the top half of the field and, as recently as 2015, we finished inside the top 10.
Team New Zealand has actually finished among the top 10 an incredible 14 times in 32 appearances at the MXoN since we first attended in 1984.
Not bad for a country with a total population about the same size as an average city in Europe or the United States.
And don’t start me on that Team Great Britain MXoN nonsense – that’s actually three countries rolled into one entry (England, Scotland and Wales) and that’s not fair is it?
But we’ve all got high hopes of NZ getting on the MXoN podium again soon.
New Zealand’s mainstream media is fixated at the moment (aren’t they always?) with New Zealand maybe winning the Rugby World Cup and the noise from that won’t have died down (regardless of the outcome) before they maybe switch their focus over to NZ perhaps winning some wildly over-hyped and over-priced America’s Cup sail boat race somewhere.
The verbal and written self-flagellation and wringing of hands will continue for long after the Rugby World Cup has been decided and, all the while this has been going on, our Kiwi motocross heroes will have battled the rest of the world at the MXoN with barely a murmur of recognition from the mainstream media back home.
We rarely see much on the TV channels when Kiwi motorcyclists such as Dylan Walsh, Josiah Natzke, Courtney Duncan, Shane Richardson, James Scott, Liam Draper, Hamish Macdonald or Rachael Archer, to name a few, excel internationally, as indeed they each have recently.
If you haven’t worked it out already, I’m bloody annoyed. Again.
To free up some air time on the TV, I’ve got this brilliant idea for saving time and effort and, at the same time, upping the entertainment value of the Olympics.
Why not combine several sports into one. Say, how about having the shot-putters share the programme with synchronised swimming, quickly followed by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? What about a high-jump/ clay pigeon shooting combo? Consider a rowing and javelin-throwing combination event, or combine discus hurling with the cycling?
We already do that in motorcycling … every time you race an enduro or cross-country event.
Think about it – in an enduro or cross-country race, you get to combine motocross with swimming, weight-lifting and wrestling.
A dirt bike can be used to round up cattle and sheep on the farm, it can be used to race along the beach to check on the long-lines, it can take you to work in the big city (beats being stuck in traffic jams) and it can be used for cross-country, enduro or trail riding. These bikes can be used to race motocross too. Now there’s a thought.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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