Toys & Trials

A world for the even fitter

Michel Beaudry September 28 1987

Toys & Trials

A world for the even fitter

Michel Beaudry September 28 1987

Toys & Trials

A world for the even fitter

Michel Beaudry

SPORTS TRENDS:The main direction is still to push the envelope of the possible, technically as well as physically, with people looking for some meaning in their lives. As composite materials improve, sports toys will become lighter, stronger and more efficient, giving athletes even higher performance levels. Of course, costs will soar.

With insurance and government intervention increasing the costs of guided high-risk sports —heli-skiing, rafting, climbing, etc.—we will see more of the “rugged individual” ideal: folk getting organized with friends and increasing their knowledge of the outdoors, emergency procedures and first aid.

You will meet more

women at the edge. With new strength and confidence, once-macho surfing, hang-gliding and climbing will open and develop for females.

Masters competitions of all kind will blossom, with professional masters categories in most sports. As baby boomers grow older and get better at their activities, senior-athlete performance will skyrocket—so will sports medicine and its associated businesses.

As the kids who grew up on risk-sports begin their own families, we will see sophisticated children’s sports toys— from high-tech bikes for every condition imaginable, to boardsailing equipment for tots, race skis, tournament tennis rackets and more. Says

one dad-to-be, “You’ll need a rack with eight different attachments to suit all the toys on top of your car.”


• Windsurf-flying: new hinged-wing designs let windsurfers launch from even small waves on a specially constructed rig and actually “fly.” Top sailboarders are all watching intently. Ex-

pect this to become a sport in its own right in five years.

• Snowboarding: sophisticated snow-surfboard system that came from California in the 1970s and is like wildfire with Europeans, especially the French.

• Speed sailing: with 65 km/h windsurfers the fastest things on water, yachtsmen are devising

a fixed-mast format to beat their lighter, more maneuverable rivals. Wait for outrageous sailing vessels.

• Maxo ultralight flying: The decade will witness a boom in lightweight flying, from ski-kites to super-efficient gliders. Air-time will appeal to aging jocks who can pay for their thrills.

• Multi-athlons: in the search for the final test of overall fitness, there will be backcountry triathlons (orienteering, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking), aquatic triathlons (swimming, rowing, windsurfing), then quadrathlons, even sexathlons. Some will be individual races and others relays.

• Extreme sports: with ski hills, windsurf venues and mountain bike terrain crowded, more people will look for situations once considered too tough or hazardous.

Look to much more extreme skiing as individual proficiency grows

and ski areas develop terrain. First descents of steep, hard-to-get-at couloirs, peak-bagging and radical-terrain skiing will all be popular.

Backcountry mountain biking cannot help but grow, and even backpackers will test themselves more by venturing to high alpine country. Expect mountaineering to boom.

Heli-drop skiing— you are skylifted to the mountains, picked up a week later—will gain, using mountain huts also available for summer adventurers. BACKLASH: Tech toys will not attract simpleis-better types. Reverse chic will be to overcome formidable barriers with minimal technical support. An indicator: bigboard surfing, with the old crowd back on ninefoot-six Malibu or Baja boards for the sloppy SoCal break.

Up on the mountains, telemark skiing, with extremely demanding

physical requirements, is on the increase. The trick is to ski as well on less sophisticated gear. Solo climbing, the ultimate human-againstnature activity, is more popular than ever, and simple alpine ascents of

the highest peaks with no major expedition are now the norm.

Team sports needing little equipment—volleyball, softball, soccer —are up, and for some the “right” clothing is

losing importance. The nostalgic 1920s/1930s sportsman look is in. LIFESTYLE: Fear of AIDS will end the anorexic look, and a zaftigbut-fit esthetic will be in. Sporting clubs—ski, adventure-travel, etc.—

will be popular as a social format for families and singles. Finally, expect big growth in the leisure-type activities —golf, walking, curling—as baby boomers hit their 50s and 60s. •

MOVIES: Actors to watch for this fall: James Woods and Brian Dennehy dreamteamed in a psychological thriller, Bestseller. Rupert Everett, not Bob Dylan, in Hearts Of Fire, director Richard Marqu-

and’s take on an aging London rock star. Steve _ Martin and John Candy

£ in John Hughes’s first 'S nonteen and, by all rece ports, funniest movie to I date, Planes, Trains & “■ Automobiles.

Nick Nolte has dropped weight again, and sports several ominous tattoos as a convict who starts writing and “puts on a show” behind bars in Weeds. Robin Williams is a Saigon military disc-jockey, and his

signature opening is, “Good Morning, Vietnam.Michael Biehn

is a D.A. after a serial killer in Rampage, and ever-steady Ed Harris stars as Walker, American mercenary in 1850s Nicaragua. Al exSidAnd Nancy Cox calls the film he directed “historical comedy. ” Rick Staehling


Olympic year. In three years the big U.S. networks lost or made little on sports broadcasting. Resulting changes:

• 1988 the last year for Monday Night Football. •TSN, ESPN in trouble.

• With participation the trend, a sports-exercise cable network forms.

• Baseball and the NFL expand to make up TV revenue losses.

• ABC to offer its sports director post to Peter

Ueberroth, L. A. Olympics marketing hero and current commissioner of baseball.

Summer Olympics hero: David Wharton, 18, partially deaf, world number one swimmer in the 200 and 400 individual medley.

Winter hero: Edmonton Oiler defenseman Randy Gregg leads our Olympic team to a silver medal. One other Oiler will join Gregg on the Olympic squad.

Safe sex sport: Polo is the game, and chukkar the word.

Joe Namath the first

professional athlete to advertise condoms.

Crab Apple: Marcel Dionne, unhappy in New York retires before season’s end. Pat Quinn fails to lure him to Vancouver, gets disgruntled Toronto Maple Leaf and ex-Canuck RickVaive.

Homegrown baseball star: Toronto Blue Jay Rob Ducey.

The snarling Carling: Frustrated by her game, still not over her father’s death, Carling Bassett temporarily retires.

Vancouver middleweight contender Mike Olajide gets no title bout because of court hassles over his rights. Canuck Olympic boxers Dale Walters, Shawn O’Sullivan and Willie De Wit announce retirements.

Australian rules football fills the gap left by the defunct CFL. Many ex-CFLers participate in a Canadian league.

Long leather glove: Falconry new for the few.

That’s why the lady is an ump: Triple A umpire Pam Postema goes up to the majors.

Debbie Brill’s witty coverage of Olympics makes her aTV celeb.

Future Hall of Famer Steve Garvey departs baseball, saying he will run for governor of California.

Fashionable ailment: Polo neck.

Author Joyce Carol Oates joins NBC as a boxing commentator.

Joe Theisman considers then declines an offer from old buddy Leo Cahill of the Toronto Argonauts.

In the way that ART/ CAR (American artists Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg) painted BMW cars in the Le Mans 24-hour race, Michael Snow designs a Maple Leaf uniform.

Arena football moves into American-footballhungry Montreal.

Rose Bowl football hero Rich Leach retires from the Blue Jays and joins the Argos. • Grant Shilling