First of all, I really don’t care for organized sports in general, particularly large scale modern professionalized sport. The modern idea of organized sports comes from the Romans who used it very specifically to placate the people. “Bread and Circus” were all they thought one needed to maintain control and order. Well the modern sports have become more than the ‘opiate’ of the people, they have become the oxicontin! And the so-called Olympic ‘Movement’ is like oxicontin on crack. People become entranced by the Olympics, they have become some kind of ritual that borders on religion.
But the Olympics is profoundly objectionable from a number of viewpoints. The History of the modern Olympic movement is laced with fascism and anti-Semitism. More than one IOC president has been an actual fascist, like Juan Samaranch who was a great supporter of Franco. But in recent years the Olympics has graduated from fascism to a form of mega-corporatism. Regardless of the naivety of most people, the Olympics is now primarily about money. Many Olympic athletes are well paid for winning medals and corporate sponsorship is the primary mover of the games. Large corporations and host countries make huge amounts of money from the games and if they didn’t we would barely notice them. In fact if there was not so much potential money involved you would find few countries that would make any effort to host the games.
And of course, all the money involved in the games means very simply that the richer countries have a monumental advantage over less developed ones. This runs contrary to what people constantly tell us that the games is supposed to be about. And this doesn’t even touch upon the question raised in recent years of whether the largest countries have been getting around the drug tests, thus giving them even more advantage.
Then there is the question of patriotism. People become zombies who wave flags during the Olympics and chant national anthems. Now, besides the fact that I agree with Dr. Johnson that Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, the Olympics and patriotism are a particularly bizarre combination. Though I despise most forms of nationalism, I can understand a certain degree of patriotism when we talk about the best human rights victories of our nation or the best cultural endeavors. But I just don’t follow how I am enhanced if some guy from High Prairie Alberta can skate faster than other people. Particularly when I consider that in most countries in the world there are no skating rinks.
The modern Olympics is little more than an exercise in corporatism. Nations and companies are hungry to make millions and the athletes have become their willing pawns who, in many cases, are hoping to make big money themselves with corporate sponsorships. There are, of course, still some athletes who have good intentions and try to live by the best aspects of sportsmanship (and sportswomanship – or should that be sportspersonship). But just like there are people who become soldiers with good intentions, these folks get unavoidably caught up in the corporate and nationalist interests and their involvement turns them into something that they never intended to be.
It is time to put an end to the whole charade.