On Jan. 7, Tokyo put in its bid to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games. So did Madrid and Istanbul. Who wins the coveted bid will not be known until September. But consider some of the barriers to Tokyo winning. First, Tokyo needs to garner more public support, meaning they’ll need to get the population collectively salivating at the chance to hold the games. Second, many people feel Japan should instead be committing itself to speeding up the lymphatic government cleanup and rebuilding of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster area.
Face it, Tokyo is going to have to do something special, jump through a few hoops, to win the 2020 games. And I have the solution. It will get the country drooling for the chance to hold the games and will put Tohoku on the fast track to get rebuilt. This is what Japan needs to do: Hold the first-ever Canine Olympics.
This event would be held in Tohoku the week leading up to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. In a country with more pets than children, and with a pet industry estimated to be worth $10 billion, the number of dog lovers alone (gleaned from the sales of poodle outfits and doggie baskets for bicycles), would skyrocket public support from the current 60 percent to near-frenzy levels. In addition, it would put Tohoku on a seven-year timeline to be completely rebuilt, compatible with IOC (International Olympic Canine) standards: Spacious parks with shade trees, water features and fire hydrants; a state of the art athletes’ village; and venues for sporting events such as swimming, Frisbee and fetch.
The Canine Olympics would renew tourism to Tohoku. New corporate sponsors such as Purina and Friskies would jump on the bandwagon. Fringe businesses such as dog, cat and rabbit cafes would benefit. Bids would pour in from Chanel, Dior and Gucci (who make luxury dog products) to make the athlete’s uniforms, sunglasses and perfumes.
Just take a moment and imagine the opening ceremony! Japan’s national anthem performed by The Singing Dogs (famous for their barking version of Jingle Bells) among the backdrop of the 2020 Canine Olympic Games motto, “Dogs are people too.” The opening ceremony would include demonstrations of sheep herding, cattle driving, hunting, retrieving, guard-dogging and lying in front of the hearth, events that trace the history of how dogs — descendants from the Gray Wolf — have developed over the centuries from working and hunting dogs to pets.
Doggie couture fashion shows, grooming techniques and TV commercials will showcase how dogs have become modern showpieces for their owners. As the host country, Japan will conduct haiku poetry readings, ritual sacrifices to the Shinto gods and hold a special tribute to the Japanese dog Hachiko, a pillar of canine loyalty and the embodiment of “man’s best friend.”
Next is the Parade of Nations, where the athletes from each country enter the stadium, led by one participant carrying their flag. First enters Greece, led by the graceful and Greek Hellenic hound — Arf! Next would be the Afghan hounds, the Australian kelpies, and the Cambodian razorbacks — Woof! Labrador retrievers, Chinese Shar Peis, and French poodles — Kawaii! German dachsunds, Iceland dogs, Maltese terriers, and Mexican Chihuahuas — Sugoi! New Zealand huntaways, Scottish terriers, and Spanish Pyrenees — Subarashii! English bulldogs, American cocker spaniels and oh, so many more. This is just a small list of representative Carnivora from different countries that would be in Japan for the Tohoku Games. And lastly, under the flag of the Rising Sun, the Japanese team of Akita and shiba dogs.
Lassie will be the symbolic Olympic flag bearer. HEART Tokushima, accompanied by some of their orphaned Tohoku dogs, will lead the crowd in a moment of silence — a prayer for all the dogs and other souls lost in the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster.
After this, all participant dogs will take the oath of sportsmanship. The Olympic torch is lit, doves are released, the contestants salivate — they can taste victory already. Let the games begin!
The Canine Olympics would be the safest event in the history of sports, with police dogs on every corner, plainclothes German shepherds sniffing for bombs, and hounds scouting out performance-enhancing drugs. There would be a crackdown on urinating in the streets but howling and singing would be tolerated. Great Danes will be the official service dog for the games.
The Tohoku Canine Olympic Games will be a combination of traditional and modern sporting events.
In swimming, the top medals are expected to be won by retrievers, spaniels and Newfoundlands. In the hunting event, fox hounds and bird dogs such as pointers and setters will likely prevail, whereas fence jumping is the specialty of suburban dogs and mutts who have cultivated a talent for permeating barriers. Smaller feisty dogs such as Jack Russells and other terriers will have a good chance in their weight division at the tug-of-war, while the traditional racing event is bound to be dominated by the greyhounds. Small aggressive dogs have the best chance of bringing home the gold in both the 50- and 100-meter fetch.
In the modern sporting events, the car chasing event with have three categories: mail trucks, school buses, and random cars trespassing. The Frisbee event, although expected to be won by the Americans who invented the sport, is quickly gaining worldwide appeal and promises to hold some surprises.
Burmese mountain dogs and Saint Bernards are expected to bring home victories in the search and rescue event as they compete to see who can find celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber buried under rubble. All breeds of terriers and Chihuahuas are expected to take top honors in the circus tricks event where they’ll jump through hoops of fire, ride tricycles and respond to various whistle commands.
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Competitive Eating event will surely be won by the Labradors. The judge of this event is the former Nathan’s champion Takeru Kobayashi. Lastly, the Gordy Ainsleigh 100-mile endurance run will be held in celebration of the father of ultra-running and to ensure its first Olympic appearance.
I can’t see why the Tohoku Canine Olympics wouldn’t be enough to guarantee Tokyo the No. 1 choice for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. It’s sure to be a howling success.
Follow Amy Chavez on Twitter @JapanLite.