Evan O’Hanlon: Why Athletics is the Best Sport

In spirit of the IPC’s Athletics week, Australian Paralympic champion sprinter Evan O’Hanlon explains why his sport tops them all. 28 Jun 2012
Evan O'Hanlon

Australia's Evan O'Hanlon wins 200m race during Day 1 of the Melbourne Track Classic/IAAF World Challenge event at Lakeside Stadium on 2 March 2012.

ⒸGetty Images

Athletics is also open to anyone. Sure, it pays dividends to have a good set of shoes when you are competing at the highest level, but any kid, anywhere in the world can have a go at Athletics.

On our fridge at home, my housemate and I have compiled a couple of lists.

One of those lists is things we don't like, and I used this list to write my first blog for the IPC, but one of our other lists is the "Kings of" list.

The Kings of list contains anything we class as a leader, or "king," in its respective field.

Some of the entries on the “Kings of” list include:

King of biscuits - Tim Tams

King of textiles - Wool

King of cooking techniques/implements - BBQ

King of cold meats - Triple smoked ham

King of spreads - Vegemite

King of yoghurt - Greek yoghurt

The above have been added to the exclusive list that adorns our fridge after hours of debate and deep thought.

This week, though my housemate is away and I have been left to fill my idle time alone in the house. I started by filling my time learning the art of Backgammon, but my thoughts kept floating away from the game to excitement of the impending week and the fact that this week is IPC Athletics week.

The excitement got me thinking. The thinking got me excited. And in the absence of my housemate, I made an executive decision that in honour of IPC Athletics week, Athletics should be added to the list of "Kings of" in the category of … wait for it … drum roll...


I understand that there will be large amounts of public excitement, perhaps even celebration upon the appointment of Athletics to this coveted position, but I urge you all to remain calm.

I have known my housemate for some time now, as we attended school together and I know two things for certain. One, Dave (my housemate) does not hold Athletics in the same high regard as myself. Mainly, I suggest because of his prowess, or lack thereof, in the field, and two he will argue with anyone about anything in order to show off his oratory skills.

Therefore, in a pre-emptive strike against Dave's undoubtable opposition I would like to present my case for Athletics as the king of sport.

First off, just to clarify, a number of kings have been added to our list for their flexibility and ease of use rather than simply out performing their opponents in head-to-head battle.

Take tomatoes for example, which are listed as the king of the cross code fruit/vegetables category. Capsicum has a solid claim to this throne, but was beaten to the post by tomato because of its availability in numerous forms and it's flexibility in method of preparation.

I would like to carry the precedent set in the case of the tomato into the case of sport and use Athletics’ flexibility and the numerous forms the sport takes – whether it be track or field, sprints or distance – to thrust it onto the throne and into, in my view, its rightful position of King.

Athletics is also open to anyone. Sure, it pays dividends to have a good set of shoes when you are competing at the highest level, but any kid, anywhere in the world can have a go at Athletics.

They can simply pick something up and throw it, run up to something and jump it or see a finish line and run past it and they have had a taste of Athletics!

Add to this the fact that in Athletics your performance in is gauged in what must be the purest way possible, timed down to the hundredth of a second.

I close my case.

In writing my arguments down, I have convinced myself that Athletics is truly the king of sports and reading back I cannot fathom even Dave finding a plausible argument against the case of Athletics.

I know earlier in the blog I told you to hold your excitement, but stuff it.

Let's celebrate.

If Dave tries to shoot down our favoured sport, we can always start a social media campaign!