On the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympics what better time to start discussing the inclusion of gardening as an Olympic sport. How it has been overlooked all these years is anybody’s guess but the hour is near where gardener’s must unite to represent their countries for coveted gold.
Certainly its inclusion for the London games in 2012 couldn’t be timed any better as a follow-on from the Chelsea Flower Show. On the world’s stage, gardeners have been pitting their skills against each other for eons, competing at a level that would bring tears to any male gymnast caught in an awkward splits routine.
Yet, recognition for gardening as a world class sport has been sorely, yet noticeably, omitted.
The pain runs deep as other sports such as Handball, BMX and Synchronized Swimming are pushed ahead of our hobby while gardening has been observed for millenia and involves far more participants. Conspiracy theories abound but in the cold, hard, light of day one can’t escape that Olympics organisers have snubbed this pastime one too many times.
I understand that some readers will struggle with calling gardening a ‘sport’ but as Princeton defines the term: an active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition I feel that our hobby bids well. The competition usually comes from the weeds and pests and the physical exertion is the moment one picks up a spade or garden fork.
Personally, I would love to see gardening operated as a hexathlon with a number of different disciplines combining to produce a result. Activities such as;
- Wheelbarrow races
- Potato Sack Races
- Free-Range Egg and Recyclable Spoon Races
- Potting Mix Weightlifting
- Weed Wrestling, and
- Equestrian manure spreading
Am I lone voice crying in the wilderness? Does anybody else share my passion to see gardening recognised as an Olympic sport? I’m considering starting a petition….Any takers?