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The Olympics Stink -- Here's Why...By Jay Graziani
Michael Phelps has certainly boosted the viewership of these 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing- U.S. viewership of has reached an all-time high for the first few days of coverage. Such a turnout is perhaps unexpected, given the sparse coverage provided in the pre-Olympic weeks, a period in which drama-queen Brett Favre dominated the sports media circuits. Yet the Games don't seem to have quite the pizzazz they once did.
Clearly the games have taken a more political role over time, despite the fact that this is anathema to the very purpose of the games. Why else would China, with its dismal human rights records and horrible environmental conditions, be allowed to host this year's games? This, and other negatives such as the proliferation of "performance enhancing substances" and increased commercialization, were articulated in an excellent article by Hartley Henderson here at MajorWager just a few months ago (http://www.majorwager.com/index.cfm?...ow_column=652). While I agree with most of the points of that article, there are plenty of other reasons the Olympics fail to live up their billing from a fan's perspective.
Television coverage. Nowhere else is the commercialization of the Olympics more evident than in broadcasting. NBC paid a reported $2.2 billion for rights to the 2010 and 2012 Games in Vancouver and London, respectively. Nonetheless, it is seemingly impossible to see the events you want to watch due to copyright restrictions and the whims of network execs. If the Olympics are truly about international brotherhood and exposure for the athletes, then the IOC should demand more accessible broadcasting. As a casual fan, 3 hours of watching young men ride the pommel horse isn't exactly my cup of tea (although I am sure there are those who see things differently). In an era when anyone can access every MLB and NBA game through a satellite dish, there's no reason that the slate of televised Olympic sports should be so sparse.
Inclusion of professional athletes. While we all know there are ways to get around the "professional" tag (just ask Reggie Bush), matching up athletes who train year-round against amateurs from poor countries with little resources is ridiculous. How can a destitute swimmer from Afghanistan, who supports his family by farming the opium fields for 15 hours each day, expect to compete against someone who has done nothing but train in elite level swimming circuits for the past 16 years (yes, we're talking about you Mr. Phelps). If one of the goals of the modern Olympics is the inclusion of all nations, then allowing professionals or near-professionals to compete defeats this purpose. When the USA basketball team is routinely 40-point favorites, it tells you something about the quality of competition and, therefore, the quality of programming for the casual fan.
Too many events. In the first 1500 years of the Games, events were slowly added until a total of 23 competitions were eventually reached: 8 track-and-field for men, 5 track and field for boys, 8 equestrian events, and 2 "specialty" events. The latter includes events for trumpeters and heralds, surely the barn-burners of the early games. Today, the 2008 games have over 300 separate events, culled from 28 sports, running right into the IOC's self-imposed limit. One wonders if just a few of these events might be relegated to their own championship events at another date. Sports like table tennis, snowboarding, and BMX, while certainly requiring athleticism and a good degree of talent and hard work, are just not of broad enough interest for a spot on the main stage of the Olympics; the X-Games should serve the champions of these events just fine. There are 18 different Gymnastics events, 18 Cycling events, 16 Canoeing events, and 15 shooting events. Can't a few of those events be consolidated into fewer competitions? Perhaps the World Canoeing Championships can justify 18 events, but do we really need to be that specific when it comes to the Olympics? Even with over 300 events, the Games still misses sports with worldwide popularity, such as baseball, rugby, and cricket. It seems as if the Modern Olympics tries to recognize every sport in existence, when it should instead focus on the pre-eminent sports in each category that best exemplify human athleticism.
Ultimately it comes down to what purpose the modern Olympics are supposed to serve. Are the olympics designed to be a compendium of championship events of every imaginable sport? That is seemingly what they've become, though the Guniness Book of World Records serves that purpose far more mightily. The original purpose of the Ancient Games, a celebration of human athleticism and achievement, has been ridiculously watered down through the years. The apparent purpose of the modern Games, to foster brotherhood and understanding between all the nations of the world, is completely lost through politicization and commercialization. And from a fan's perspective, the broadcasting and scheduling of the games always falls far short of potential and expectations. Sure, we'll get some compelling storylines and excellent performances, as we do every 2 years. But is it worth all the hype, hoopla, and billing as the world's greatest sporting event? Not in my book.
Honestly, i think this entire Olypmics is a farce...Just the fact that China is allowed to host the games, while a country like Cuba is vilified, and a country like North Korea is under constant threat of war..
I'm too tired to go too far into this right now...But, if anyone can give me a decent explanation as to how Cuba, N. Korea, and i'll even go so far as Iraq, how are these three countries worse than China exactly?
Go through Bush's reasonings for invading Iraq sometime....See if you can find a single event, outside of the disappearing WMD's, that China hasn't topped them in, as far as human rights violations, genocide, torture....Hell China even has nukes....Thousands of nukes actually...The only thing Iraq was 'caught' doing, that China hasn't been, was using chemical weapons....But, China has never been shy about widespread mass executions of it's own people, in fact, they seemed somewhat proud of it throughout the 70's and 80's....I'd go so far as to guess China has murdered maybe twice as many 'innocent' civilians as Iraq ever had.
What about Cuba? Hell, i would be arrested, if i vacationed in Cuba, and decided to spend a few hundred bucks on gifts while i was there....How exactly is Cuba worse than China???
What about North Korea for the next games? Sure, the leader is nutty, but, they actually have a better track record than China, at least in the history of Helsinki Watch/Human Rights Watch...I'm pretty sure even Amnesty International would say China has a worse human rights history than China.
I'm not even bothered so much by the fact China got them actually...Just as how hypocritcal the world (the US) is when it comes to deciding what countries are 'good' or 'bad'......And, i wanna go to Cuba without having to worry about my bags being searched in Miami, to see if i bought a fuckin bracelet for my neice, which is a serious crime, of course...Because that would mean i was feeding the evil cuban political machine with american dollars.
That, and the fact that we invaded Iraq for doing pretty much the same exact shit China has been doing openly for decades....Yet, Iraq is evil, China is 'most favored nation' in trade, and gets the Olympics.
Ah fuck all that too actually...The thing that i hate most is pro athletes in the games...and the endless commercialism. The Olympics have been ruined and it's just not interesting to me anymore.
The politics and scirmishes of our own tiny worlds are temporarily put aside
in the interest of bringing different individuals together for one common goal.
To compete. At least thats how I see them. Just my humble opinion.
Somebody once said, if you want to be left alone by the US, make sure you already have nuclear weapons, it's only when you don't have them and want to acquire them do you run into trouble.
China is actually the test model for many megalomaniacs who want world government. I mean, think about it, the state FORBIDS you to have more than one child, and the state FORBIDS to worship a god. The penalty for both are imprisonment,labor camps, and sometimes, brutal executions. And yet there is no public outrage towards this nation? Makes you really question many peoples ability to think. I mean my god, there are reports that the government makes big $ by selling vital organs of prisoners to rich medical patients who need urgent transplants.
I could provide verified quotes from the likes of David Rockefeller regarding his admiration for the Chinese way of governing ,and write for hours about the family trees from 1900 on and the influence of the original Eugenics movement and blah, blah, blah, but everytime i get into it, i get mocked and labled a kook, and rational discussion and valid counter points are disdained in favor of insults and slogans, so I won't bother.
Your post is right on the money Uncle B, this Chinese government is fucking brutal, and people better be on guard, because that model of governing can happen anywhere, INCLUDING the US, and all you need to do is read your history books of the last 3000 years to see hundreds of examples of people , tribes, nations, etc... that had it happen to them.
Never forget the warnings of great men like Thomas Jefferson, who helped create this great nation. If someone is not familiar with those words, i suggest you read them.
See this is the kind of stuff that happens in China indio was talking about.
Wait that's not China, but Disneyland. Then again they are a lot a like. Both have the overtone of everything being nice and rosey (it's a small world), but we all know underneath it's a dirty rotten Communist state;-)
PS: Sorry i'mkind of making light of China, but some reason I can't stop laughing at these yahoo pics and found it fitting here.
i'm not watching the Olympics because Bush decided to be in attendance instead of protesting the terrorizing of Tibet (not to mention the United States removed China from its list of top 10 human rights violators just prior to the games). then to top it off, Russia invades Georgia and their atheletes are allowed to compete? did i mention an American was killed by some Chinese nut who then jumped off a building from the 1st Dynasty?
no matter where you go, there you are ...
"And remember, no matter where you go, there you are." .—Confucius
AL 29:11 Just Win Baby
Scary, isn't it?
And, i have no doubt the reports of the prisoners having organs taken away, so as to be sold to the highest bidder are true....If it turned out to NOT be true, and even worse than reported, would be the shock to me.
The whole thing just disgusts me...The way people turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy of the US and the UN, with regards to China, and how their actions, known the world over to be some of the absolute worst human rights violations in the the industrial world, compared to how countries like Cuba, N. Korea and Iraq, countires considered 'evil' and destructive, just because China is a massive trade market.
Maybe Sri Lanka should put in a bid for the next Summer Olympics, they obviously qualify..
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