Forget about gymnastics and figure skating.
On Wednesday, the premiere Olympic events at California State University, Stanislaus were musical ballroom dancing – think musical chairs, but with ballroom dancing – canoe races, the Frisbee toss, and a scooter race. Oh, and for warm-up, why not line dancing?
It’s all par for the course for the Kinesiology Olympics, a near-annual event intended to unite the members of CSU Stanislaus’ Kinesiology Department.
“Our main focus is just to do relationship building between faculty and students,” said Janice Herring, a kinesiology professor at CSU Stanislaus who helped plan this year’s Olympics.
The event started in 1999, and has continued most every year since then. The premise of the event has remained largely intact – somewhat-humorous athletic events as a bonding activity – but the Olympics have remained fresh with a new crop of students competing each year.
Returning to compete this year were 2010’s champions Jesse Tedrick and Lumuli Kyumba. The duo earned last year’s title on the back of a consistent performance – and Kyumba’s record-breaking eight-to-nine minute wall sit.
“I felt it afterwards,” Kyumba said.
For their efforts, Tedrick and Kyumba, like all winners, earned a spot on a perpetual plaque, permanently on display in the Kinesiology Department.
“You have some bragging rights,” Tedrick said
Both competed again this year, but were barred from teaming up. Instead, like all competitors, both Tedrick and Kyumba were randomly paired off with a teammate.
In addition to competing for the overall prize, those teams compete for faculty-donated prizes, ranging from T-shirts to gift cards and course readers. Those faculty prizes are handed out at the professors’ discretion, with some opting to award top finishers and others taking more humorous avenues.
“It could be the person who fell in the lake first in the canoe race,” Herring said.
This year, the canoe race price went not to the student who fell in the lake first, but to the student who fell in the lake three times. One prize went not to the fastest sled pull team, but the slowest.
When the points were tallied, Doug Porras and Kaycee Gow claimed the title of overall victors this year.
Porras and Gow both former collegiate athletes, said they “expected nothing less,” going into the Olympics. But Porras did let slip he was pleased to rebound after a 2010 performance that could only be described as “bad.”
With just one class left in his collegiate career Porras, a senior, likely won’t be back to defend his title next year. But given Wednesday’s results, the Olympics have Porras rethinking his educational plans.
“I might fail my class just to come back and compete next year,” he said.
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