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Game Over for the Olympics?

January 22nd, 2014 - 9:38 am

olympic-torch

Charles Lane thinks the Games have outlived their usefulness, if they ever had any:

have just one question: How many more such embarrassments must we endure before ending this corrupt quadrennial exercise?

The modern Olympics were founded by a French aristocrat, Pierre de Coubertin, who believed in promoting international peace and understanding by reviving the ancient Greek custom of periodic truces for athletic competition.

Whatever might be said for that idea in theory, it hasn’t panned out in practice. The ostensibly apolitical Games have been marred by several boycotts — of Montreal in 1976 (by African nations protesting apartheid), of Moscow in 1980 (by the United States and other Western countries protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) and of Los Angeles in 1984 (by communist countries retaliating for 1980).

The Games also have created a target for extremists, from the Palestinian terrorists who killed 11 Israeli athletes at Munich in 1972 to ultra-rightest Eric Rudolph, who placed a deadly bomb at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Consequently, these celebrations of international conviviality proceed under heavy military guard.

That last bit is certainly true, although it says more about the nature of terrorists than it does about the Games themselves.

The problem with Lane here isn’t that he’s necessarily wrong, it’s that he doesn’t provide any solution better than “end it, don’t mend it.” If we want the Olympics to be what they could be and should have been, then we’ve got to get governments out of it — and professional athletes, too.

The Olympics were supposed to be about amateurs competing for pure sport, and that got lost in a sea of Cold War rivalries and NBA stars.

Amateur, or bust. The same goes for government funding.

My interest in the Games has waned, the further they’ve moved from their roots. But I’d happily tun back in every four years if they’d get back to them.

Oh, and one other thing: NBC and Bob Costas have got to go.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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The best part of the Olympics are the goofy sports you only see every 4 years. With the multi-channel format, we get to see more of that now, and skip out on ice dancing.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The sports that make the Olympics have long since established their own annual international championship systems already. I don't really see a need for the Olympics per se either.

To the extent that international sporting competitions have contributed to world peace, it has increasingly occurred during the inter-Olympics years.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's all been distilled down ice dancing and gymnastics that appeal to the cheap chardonnay crowd, and the manufactured breathless back story drama to go along with it. Hours and hours of tweens and ambiguously gay men with dance music and sequins, interspersed with updates and highlights that you missed while the network fixated 20 cameras on the crap that chicks will sit through.

I, for one, miss seeing the monsters that the Czech republic and East Germany were growing in their secret labs for the women's hammer throw.

SCIENCE!!!

It's been too "chick-afied" to suit me.

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah but what about those curling contests? Have me on the edge of my seat. Oh the sweeping.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
One problem with the Olympics is that they're no unique. It's just another athletic meet on the tour of the various sports. After the Olympics it's the Pan-Americas, then the goodwill games, then something else.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Winter Olympics are only useful to shorten the gap between the SuperBowl and the NCAA tournament/Spring Training. Agree wholeheartedly on Costas.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I enjoy the Olympics, on the rare occasion NBC actually shows a competition. And Bob Costas, yes, he needs to go away.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
To hell with that amateur bs. I want to see the best athletes in whatever sport is being shown and that means professionals.

I truly enjoy watching the Olympics both summer and winter but can do without the politics including the ridiculous purity of sport crap. Get all of the politics out of it and let it just be a showcase for the best of the best.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have to agree with you on this. I want the best to show up.

Unfortunately, I have zero interest in who can run 100m the fastest, speed skate around a rink (over and over and over again), or any other competition that isn't in a game format.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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