Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Horror of Olympic Competition


I have always loved the Olympic games. I have watched the figure skating, luge, gymnastics, tennis, and all the other wonderful competitions with affection. These are the best athletes in the world, competing together in the spirit of peace and love!

This article has changed my mind on that. The travel of the Olympic torch this year has changed my mind, too. The mind-boggling human rights issues of China have changed my mind.

I don't want to see the Olympics ended, but I do know that the article above is right. The Olympics no longer serve the purpose they were intended to. The safety of our athletes is no longer guaranteed. Munich proved that to us.

In Hellenic Greece and earlier, the Olympics were a time of peace. The precursor to our Olympic flame was the sacred messenger sent from Olympia to all the city-states and countries that would be participating in the Olympic competition. The athletes and those accompanying them were officially given the protection of the Gods in order to attend the games. Police were unknown in those days, but weren't needed: fear of the retribution of the Gods was enough to keep the athletes sacrosanct. No one would have dared risk the wrath of Zeus!

The article I mention, suggests that if the US pulled out of the Olympics, it would rapidly die. I'm not so sure about that, but it would certainly get a lot smaller. Without our billions of dollars in advertising and television deals, they would be forced to actually concentrate less on building new stadiums, and more on building relationships between countries and athletes.

The suggestion made by the author of the article, is that world competitions would still be held, at proper stadiums, built for the purpose of practicing athletes. It would better serve the athletes themselves, as well as the public who support them. Perhaps without the "mystique" of the Olympics, the drug use, crass commercialism, and violence surrounding the Games would die, also.

I don't want to see the Olympics go away. I love what they stood for. But they no longer stand for the same thing since McDonalds and JiffyLube sponsored them.
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