Fly-fishing in Olympics? A balancing act

I love the Olympics. It doesn’t matter if it’s the summer or winter games; I just love to watch them.

So, as I was watching the summer Olympics, it came to me that there is no competition for fly-fishing. That just isn’t right.

Fly-fishing has been around a long time – certainly longer than the 400-meter individual medley.

With that thought in mind, I propose a venue for fly-fishing to be an Olympic sport. I plan to submit my idea next week, and with any luck, the American contingency will stand three abreast on the medal podium and garner fame and fortune.

The competition will be somewhat like the gymnastic events. Fly-fishing won’t be just catching the most fish for the gold. Nope, the participants are going to have to show expertise in a variety of disciplines. Similar to gymnastics, medals will be awarded in each discipline, plus an overall winner.

The first event will be balanced rock walking. Anyone who fly-fishes knows being able to keep one’s balance while stepping from rock to rock is very important. For this event, though, it won’t be just a few small rocks arranged in neat order on top of a soft mat. Large and small boulders will be arranged in a pattern making it mandatory that when stepping from boulder to boulder, the elements needed to pass a sobriety test will be required.

Further, the rocks will be highly polished, and the contestants will have to wear waders, studded boots, a fully loaded vest and carry a fly rod. Points will be awarded, or deducted, based on how often they fall, the amount of time needed to make the crossing and style.

Rowing will be the second event. It will occur not in some watercraft that looks like an arrow but in a traditional drift boat. The boat has to carry an ice chest full of ice and beverages, two really overweight people, two fly rods and other assorted gear.

With the blast of the starting gun, the highly-trained and very fit rower will have to row 5 miles into the wind. The best time will win.

Swimming and diving will be next. Wearing all the gear a fly-fisherman usually has on, the participants will have to jump from a 10-meter platform into the water. Points will be awarded based on style and size of the splash a competitor makes as he or she hits the water after achieving terminal velocity, being able to swim to the edge of the pool and how much of the gear makes it to the “bank.”

The final event will be actually catching fish using a fly rod. Points will be awarded on the total number of fish caught. However, instead of some fancy one-fly tournament, the contestants will be allowed to use as many flies, of any type, as they deem necessary. Just no bait. Basically, this is a no-holds-barred, catch-as-many-fish-as-possible, any-way-you-can event.

So there it is. A four-event competition, plus an overall winner. The folks I fly-fish with can win this. They won’t even have to train. Just think, more medals for the USA, and fewer for China.

I did want to include one more event, beach fish-ball. However, I just couldn’t make it work. Who in their right mind would want to watch four people, in waders and boots, rolling around in the sand trying to throw a dead fish across a net. It’s just too ugly to think about.

Reach Don Oliver at