Christmas comes but once a year – the Olympics but once every four! I used to be an avid fan of the Olympic Games. The Olympics was a rare chance to view sports that rarely receive television or media coverage in North America. Track and field, amateur wrestling, weightlifting, gymnastics, and swimming take a back seat to the big professional sports such as NFL, basketball, baseball, and in Canada, hockey. Other sports such as NASCAR, pro golf, horse racing and even tractor pulling get more time under the bright lights than their neglected step siblings. The Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC) and the semi-reality show that is pro Wrestling are also big draws in North America.
Times have changed. The internet makes even the most obscure sports available somewhere in the online world. The Olympics have also lost much of their shine for many reasons:
1. Corruption: The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C) has a history of bribery, under the table payouts, and unfair governance. Successful Olympic host cities have greased the palm of many an Olympic official to win a bid.
2. Cost: Hosting an Olympics cost billions for stadiums, venues, and other infrastructure. Often the specific venues become obsolete after the Olympiad has moved on. Montreal taxpayers did not pay off the cost of the 1976 summer Olympics for over 30 years. Rio de Janeiro and Sochi will follow this pattern as well.
3. Propaganda: It seems that the only countries now interested in bidding to host the Olympics are those with democracy repressing regimes trying to boost their international reputation. China is scheduled to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics. Given that country’s human rights record and the oppression in Hong Kong, there is already rumor of a boycott.
4. Scandal: Doping. impartial judging, cheating have all become part of the Olympic legacy. Since the I.O.C. is rampant with corruption, and greed, the scandals are often overlooked or covered up.
A lasting legacy for future athletes - or maybe not!
The I.O.C. in their infinite wisdom have found the cure
for what ails this aging, decadent, institute. Breakdancing will become an
Olympic sport! If it is broke, don't fix it. Just add more 'so called'
sports. That’s great! That’s just great! Another sport where the judges
can be bribed or baffled.
It takes skill but it wont fix the Olympics.
Here are my suggestions for mending this dying institution:
1. End the practice of one city or country hosting all events. Divide up the pie. Do like the various sports do for world championships. Forget having every sport in the same place. It is too much for one locale.
2. Award the hosting of each sport to a city that already has the existing infrastructure in place. Give skiing to a city with ski hills, unlike Sochi, Russia or Beijing China.. Award track and field to somewhere that already has a stadium.
3. Chose places where there is an interest in that sport. North American cities will not draw the crowds for men’s soccer or amateur wrestling. Hold wrestling in Europe or the Balkans and soccer anywhere else. Host swimming in Australia, badminton in the orient or Indochina, hockey in Canada or Scandinavia and Judo in Japan. Gymnastics (and maybe Break Dancing) would likely sell out in the U.S.A. but most Olympic sports would draw only the cult following.
4. Award the Olympic sites to democratic countries that believe in the rule of law and human rights. Stop awarding dictatorships and bad political actors.
This is the only cure that I can envision to save the Olympics from itself. However, I doubt that the powers that be will go this route. The greed, corruption, sense of entitlement, and political chicanery is too deeply ingrained in the system.
I am just a sports/fitness influencer with little world-wide influence.
Until Next Time -Keep Healthy and Fit over Christmas