Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympics Rant

Well, the Olympics are over, new records have been set, and I'm primed for a rant:

The modern Olympics were meant as a place for amateur athletes to come together in the spirit of international brotherhood and cooperation.

The current Olympics have devolved into nationalistic strutting and bad faith competition. Cheating of all stripes is routinely uncovered. Every athlete has to be cleared not only for steroids, but can be forced to prove they're claiming the correct sex! Governments use their Olympic teams as political pawns. And where Jim Thorpe had his medals stripped because he had been employed at some point as a baseball player, now professional athletes are feted as gods at the Olympics.

And the choice of where the Olympics are held is a joke. The People's Republic of China is a closed, regimented, oppressive, communist tyranny. Why would an event that's supposed to celebrate humanity at its best be held in a place where humanity is cheap and easily discarded? I'll tell you why: Money. The IOC has been exposed time and time again in bribery and corruption when it comes to site selection. If you can show that you have a great place to hold the Olympics, can demonstrate that your infrastructure can handle the load of hundreds of thousands of athletes and spectators, but don't take the IOC members around in limos and make sure their children go to local universities for free, you don't have a chance.

The US government doesn't directly support the USOC, but most governments support their local Olympic committees. China has reportedly set up athlete factories where children are put in training at a ridiculously early age to be molded into Olympians. Even in the US, military personnel are allowed to leave their posts to train for and participate in the Olympics. Your tax dollars at work.

My final take: The US should pull out of the Olympics unless some new rules are put in and enforced. IOC members should be completely unpaid, and should have to pay their own way to go on tours of prospective venues. Olympic meets should only be held in democracies that can be certified by Amnesty International as meeting minimum standards of freedom and openness. And professional athletes should be banned from the games. The 10 months of the NBA is too much Kobe as it is, I don't want to see more of him during the off season.

What's your take?

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