Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, the Olympics always got me excited. It didn’t matter if it was winter or summer, I watched every second. I remember athletes crying on the medal stand when their national anthem played. Too bad those feelings stopped for me a while back. That’s why I say you might as well end the Olympics.
It just doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean anymore.
For example, in 1984, I didn’t care what color of skin an American had, they were American, and I was cheering for them. MY country against all others. What was bigger than a Cold War showdown on the ice or the hardwood? Nothing. Us against them. Now we against them is dead.
It’s great to want everybody to get along, but this is sports, the one place where differences are settled and nobody dies. There is no collateral damage.
The greatest sporting event in my lifetime was the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980. I grew up in Indiana and didn’t care about hockey. But throw a USA jersey on somebody, and I would watch it and care. I know nationalism is considered a bad word now, but to me, it is just identifying and supporting people from the nation you’re from. What’s so bad about that?
The Olympics were not supposed to be about millionaire athletes getting richer. It was supposed to be about unpaid athletes who were not pros representing their country. Now it’s just another avenue for athletes to get paid. Hell, I know through the 70s and 80s a lot of eastern block countries athletes were not amateurs, but ours were. That’s why it was nice when we beat them. The innocence of life, in general, was lost a couple of decades ago.
Corruption of the IOC
This is my biggest issue with the Olympics. The corruption is horrific. You name it, bribes, kickbacks, the list could go on for days. Hell the IOC is more corrupt than the NCAA if that explains it to you. Look at the corruption just from Tokyo 2020.
Example. A gentleman named Haruyuki Takahashi. According to Reuters, Takahashi became a high-flying bagman, armed with $8.2 million from the Tokyo bid committee to help secure IOC votes.
The former executive at the powerful Japanese advertising agency Dentsu has denied wrongdoing, although he admitted that he lobbied voting IOC members like Lamine Diack, the former head of the international governing body, for track and field who has been under house arrest in France since 2015 on corruption charges, plus accusations that he concealed failed drug tests and blackmailed athletes. Takahashi has only conceded that he provided humble presents to Diack like cameras and a Seiko watch.
Takahashi maintains that providing fancy gifts to people like Diack and other members of the IOC was just business as usual. “You don’t go empty-handed,” he told Reuters. “That’s common sense.” Right there in that quote, it sums up the IOC and what they are about and what they have been about for years.
The Tokyo bid certainly looks suspicious. Takahashi was brought on to the Tokyo team as a consultant by Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the Tokyo 2020 bid and who also is the son of Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda—an IOC member from 1967 to 1981—and the great-grandson of Emperor Meiji, ruler of Japan from 1867 to 1912. Takeda was indicted in January 2019 on corruption charges linked to $2 million in payments that he allegedly authorized for a Singapore-based company called Black Tidings. While he has maintained that these payments were for consulting work, French authorities believe they were bribes shunted to Papa Massata Diack—who is linked to the Black Tidings account and who is the son of the aforementioned Lamine Diack, the focus of Takahashi’s courting. Prosecutors allege that the payments channeled through the Black Tidings account were meant for the elder Diack. In mid-2019, Takeda resigned from his post at the Japanese Olympic Committee. He insists he is innocent. The legal machinations continue.
Now the IOC is trying to say that they are the victims and plan on suing for damages.
When Nagano was bidding for the 1998 Winter Games, its team flooded voting IOC members with gifts, spending $22,000 per member in the quest for 62 IOC votes. Even though the IOC had placed a $200 limit on gift-giving to IOC members in 1991, Nagano bidders brazenly pressed ahead. We might know even more details, if the Nagano bid committee had not incinerated all its records after the Olympics, likely destroying evidence of additional trickery. So, as you can see this is commonplace and if you don’t believe me just google the Salt Lake City Olympic bribery scandal.
Patriotism Part 2
The IOC used to ban political activism on the award stand and before the games, but recently they started allowing it. Why can’t sports just be about sports anymore, especially the Olympics? I’m not one of these people that think athletes should not be able to protest. I wrote many articles defending Colin Kaepernick’s right to do so. But this is different! Why would you want to represent a country you don’t truly love? I love my country, but I hate the corrupt government that we have in place. The US National Women’s Soccer team knelt before their opening game against Sweden. I have a problem with it because they are supposed to be representing all Americans and not just a city. It’s embarrassing that those other countries see this. Do I have issues with my country?
Yes, I DO.
I believe that we have a corrupt, tyrannical government, but you know what, it doesn’t matter. I would still represent our nation.
In the Olympics, you are representing the people of your country.
Unity is gone, only division remains, division over race, political views, etc.