Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Forget the Olympics

It’s exciting to watch athletes from all over the world compete in the Olympics. You get to see amazing skill, speed, and teamwork. However, the Olympics have turned me off for a number of reasons.

One thing that turns me off is the nationalistic fervor we see in the United States when it comes to winning medals. If one of our athletes doesn’t win a gold medal, he has let down his country. If the U.S. doesn’t win a medal in an event, we’re very disappointed and begrudge the winners. It’s not about sport; it’s all about winning, and I think that’s wrong.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, during the Cold War, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set some policies that, to me, were ridiculous. Western professional athletes couldn’t compete because the Olympics are for amateurs. So some of our best athletes in such sports as basketball were excluded. However, Communist Bloc countries had athletes who were allowed to compete despite the fact that all they did was train for the Olympics. These “professionals”, paid by the state to train, weren’t excluded.

Then you had the famous East German and Russian “women”. The IOC finally got around to challenging and checking that these masculine looking women really were females.

Lastly, there was a suggestion that there be a moment of silence as part of the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in memory of the Israelis who died at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in Munich in 1972. As far as I know, the IOC refused to have the moment of silence on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of that attack.

Why wouldn’t the IOC agree to remember and memorialize this tragedy? Are they afraid of offending the Palestinians? The same people who launch rockets into Israel on an almost daily basis? The same people who blow up busses, killing innocent civilians? The same people who brutally killed innocent athletes in 1972? Oh my. We wouldn’t want to offend the Palestinians, would we?

That’s why I say, “Forget the Olympics.” I’m offended by the IOC’s attitude.

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