A Rant about the OlympicsTM

[No Olympics logo]

The Olympics. The pinnacle of amateur athletics. A place for the common person to shine.

What crap.

The OlympicsTM isn't about athletics. It's a business, pure and simple.

A month or two ago, the OlympicTM torch passed through my town. I hadn't seen any publicity for it, so it was a surprise. I walked downtown on a Sunday afternoon and I saw the OlympicTM sign: it was a big truck with a soda company's name on the side. That's when I realized the OlympicsTM were in town.

I'm an idealist when it comes to the Olympics. I'm stirred by Jesse Owens' triumph in Germany. But today it's different. There are professional athletes participating. Heck, you have to be a professional athlete to participate. The era of amateur athletes is dead and gone.

The OlympicsTM has become what it was intended not to be: a competition between nations. It's sponsored by your government and every company that can pay for a seat on the bandwagon. Cities vie for the chance to rip themselves apart to host the games. Athletes train 12 hours a day for years. There is no room for amateurs.

The spirit of the Olympics has passed on to other organizations. In particular, the Special Olympics is the worth all the gold, silver, and bronze medals ever given out. The Gay Olympics (oops, "The Gay Games" - you can't call them "Olympics"; apparently the OlympicTM committee doesn't want to be associated with queers) also holds true to the idea of amateur competition. I'm sure there's a Senior Olympics. All of these deserve the name. The one competition that doesn't is the one that owns the name.

The OlympicsTM is a swollen gasbag overinflated with the hot air of hype. It's time to prick it.


1999-01-14. Well, the International OlympicTM Committee seems to be imploding in a gifts-for-votes scheme centered around Salt Lake City's 2002 OlympicTM bid. Is anyone out there actually surprised? When hundreds of millions of dollars are up for grabs, does it shock anyone that people will give lavish gifts to those who decide where that money goes?

I guess we don't need to prick the OlympicsTM. It seems to be destroying itself.

Last updated 10 March 2001
All contents ©1996-2002 Mark L. Irons

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