The London 2012 Olympics hype has officially started: Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted the US and Canadian Olympic trials for canoe slalom in April, and Saturday afternoon TV shows now feature a variety of competitions prequalification. America’s favorite Olympians are taking over TV ads, billboards and clothing. Michael Phelps endorses Subway’s healthy sandwiches as a substantial snack in his training while Shawn Johnson shows off his grace and agility in Cola’s latest commercial. London will take center stage on the world stage this summer as more than 204 countries and territories support their teams. Even forklift drivers are gearing up for their Olympics debut by refueling Doritos and Funyuns. Huh?
In Dallas, Texas, forklift operators and their colleagues are hosting their own version of the Games: the 200-meter drag race. Using traffic cones as track lines, drivers rev up their favorite forklift trucks in the warehouse yard and take off at a staggering 10 miles per hour. Featured on YouTube, Erik’s Hyster “gets hissed by old Mitsubishi” in the middle of a parking lot. With that kind of approval, perhaps the forklift brand should consider sponsoring the 2020 Olympics. Forklift companies manufacture both internal combustion (IC) and electric forklifts. Because diesel forklifts are built for speed and endurance, they are preferred over propane or gas forklifts for drag racing.
Organizations such as the Canadian Materials Handling and Distribution Society hold annual competitions to promote Dallas Forklift safety and proper handling techniques. The CMHDS BC Championship Forklift Rally is a trained obstacle course that requires drivers to maneuver shock-tire forklifts and order pickers through narrow aisles and around cones, pylons and barrels. Efficiency points, overall completion time, and written proficiency test scores determine the gold medalists in each area. Crashing into obstacles deducts points from the overall score, but it’s always a great crowd pleaser.
While drag racing or the Forklift Rally will not be accepted as an Olympic sport for London 2012, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved two new sports: mixed doubles tennis and women’s boxing. London will feature a total of 26 sports and 39 disciplines throughout its two weeks between July 27 and August 12. No matter how thrilling forklift drag racing might seem, Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, breaks another world record because the 100 meter scoreboard is much more entertaining and impressive. Don’t be discouraged, forklift racers, keep practicing nimble turns around those barrels and maybe your dream of Olympic glory will finally come true.