I harassed Jonathan about putting comments back on his blog so I could respond to his Olympics stuff, but then I never did it. Sorry man.
One of my hesitations is that I have a lot to say about the Olympics, much of it off-topic for the post he made, and another is that I have enough to say for a full post, so why not make it? So, here goes.
I find the summer Olympics mildly interesting. Winter Olympics absolutely rock. So every four years, they hold some events in the summer that let me know it’s only 2 more years to the good Olympics. I’m positive I offended people there, but that’s ok, I’m mostly teasing. 🙂
That said, there are something things I’ve enjoyed this year. Foremost, I enjoyed watching my wife enjoy them. Every evening we’ve settled in to watch the Olympics and also whatever other sport is on, generally baseball. It’s been fun to watch with her, exclaim about the amazing things, etc.
I also always enjoy hearing stories about the athletes. They’re so varied, and so often inspiring.
Next I’m glad nothing violent has happened. There’ve been some terrorist activities in Greece in the last few years, primarily insurgents wanting their land back, similar to the Basques in Spain, and I was concerned, as were many others. Nothing so far.
Now for pro athletes in the Olympics. I’m for it. I think a country should be able to send their best athletes. Why shouldn’t they?
Next, sponsorship. I’ve heard a lot of arguments against corporate sponsorship, saying it gives unfair advantage to some athletes. I have an argument against that, as well as a way to possibly fix it. One is that many of the athletes ARE college kids, who aren’t doing summer jobs to make money for college. I don’t have a problem with them endorsing something they use so they can go back to school after training.
As for the fix, I’d love so start seeing sponsorship of athletes from small struggling countries. Robina Muqimyar is an Afghani woman who trains in Kabul Stadium where the Taliban executed its enemies and the bodies once hung from the goalposts at halftime of a soccer game. She often practiced barefoot because he shoes were so old they didn’t help much anyway. Where was Nike? They could have come across as a HUGE hero there. There hundreds and hundreds of athletes worldwide who could truly use something like that. My wife wondered that I’d be happy with an American company sponsoring “opponants”. More power to’em I say. If they’re really better than us, they should be able to show it, and not be hobbled by no place to practice, or no equipment.
Have you seen where the Russian gymnasts practice? I was astounded. It’s a crumbling old warehouse. Wow.
The last thing I’m going to mention is that the IOC needs to be slapped long and hard for making the olympics so inaccessable to people who aren’t physically there. Aggressive moves to squelch free speech and completely control the way the world sees things is bad. Athletes were told they’re not allowed to discuss the Olympics while they’re there in any way, whether online in blogs, or on the phone with family. They’re also not allowed to let anyone see any pictures they may take while there, EVER. They’ve been told if they do, their medals will be stripped from them. That’s ridiculous.
They have no idea how much more popular the Olympics would be if the athletes could interact with the world via the internet. The IOC has many serious problems, and I dearly hope they don’t destroy the Olympics before someone stops them.