The sports world has radically changed since rules were amended to allow animals to compete alongside and against humans in amateur and professional sports.
Take sprinting for example. Humans had routinely taken all three medal spots in every running category at the Olympics. Human dominance in sprinting was considered so absolute that when sloths and snails were sanctioned to run, people laughed. Rightfully so. No sloth or snail had ever actually completed a full race before. But no one is laughing now.
Last night at the Summer Games, Usain Bolt was considered the favorite to retain his spot as world-record holder in the 100 meter dash against four snails, a sloth and two other human competitors. This changed when the human that was going to race for the nation of Spain was found guilty of using illegal ostrich leg modifications and the International Olympic Committee was petitioned to allow a cheetah to run in his place.
After intense debate amongst the Committee, the cheetah was ultimately deemed fit to race by Alejandro Garcia, the President of the Committee. Others on the Committee suggested that perhaps testing the waters with a bobcat or lynx would have been a more appropriate decision, and Garcia’s status as a citizen of Spain has raised eyebrows. But the decision was made: for the first time, a cheetah would take his mark at the starting line.
- Cheetah – Spain – 5.95 seconds
- Jack Smith – USA – 9.91 seconds
- Sloth – Latvia – 99.98 seconds
- Usain Bolt – Jamaica – DNF
- Snail – Japan – DNF
- Snail – Germany – DNF
- Snail – Brazil – DNF
- Snail – British Virgin Islands – DNF
Just following the sound of the starters pistol, the cheetah and Bolt were neck-and-neck. But at the 1.46 seconds mark the cheetah bit Bolt on the neck and zipped ahead of the pack, finishing first and blowing away the previous world record in the process.
“I expected a competitive race, but nothing like this,” said a clearly disturbed Garcia, as he stared blankly at the carnage he’d helped to create. “What have I done?” he exclaimed over and over, gradually breaking down into a sobbing mess that was described by onlookers as “Shockingly pitiful” and “Disgraceful. Just embarrassing.”
Although Bolt recovered in a small hospital in the host nation of Uzbekistan, his career passed away. Bolt announced his retirement, pledging to dedicate his time to purchasing cheetahs, studying their techniques and sharing his findings with future sprinters.
But not everyone is convinced that humans have a future in sprinting.
“Now that cheetahs are running, it’s only a matter of time before humans are wiped from the sport altogether,” said former US Olympic Sprint Coach, Johnny “Fast” Jackson.
Jackson knows all too well how quickly humans can be erased from a competitive sport. He was the last human to coach an NFL football game before being replaced with an advanced football A.I.
“Humans were no match for the AI, so we were replaced. We had families and mortgages to think about. We couldn’t dedicate 100% of our energy to the game like an AI could. Remember, all the players were replaced with robots before the coaches went so we had some warning. Management was right to do it,” said Jackson.
The entire sprint coaching industry has seen a decline in available positions in the lead up to the next Olympic Games.
“Animals operate on instinct. The ones that can be trained are no match for the ones from the wild. Olympic committees around the world are looking to save money AND stay competitive. Wild animals solve a lot of their problems,” said “Coaching Jobs Magazine” reader, Timothy Burton.
For now, sprinters eagerly await the next Olympic Games in Chile to see what the future may bring to a sport that is changing almost as rapidly as cheetahs can run the 100 meters