There is an old anecdote that gets revived from time to time that goes, “Do you know the only thing more boring than track? Field!” In the case of the Olympic Games it doesn’t really matter. The Olympic ideal has always been about how much money one could squeeze out of the mass of unwashed through taxation of the host nation, effectively a transfer of wealth from poor to rich, and corporate bonanza and their marketing expertise. As Avery Brundage said after the Munich tragedy, “The games must go on!” as if this was a vaudeville show and the corpse of the dead comic in blackface would just have to wait. There was just too much corporate money implicated in advertising and sponsorship to pull the plug. “After all we did for them” type of attitude. They were just jews, and historically an inexpensive type of life, but more a solemn reminder of what lies at the heart of the games where the athletes, though pampered, are an extraneous sideshow.
So, If there really was an Olympic ideal, the International Olympic Committee let it be known that not even no second of time to commemorate the slain athletes is too much let alone a full sixty seconds. Sixty seconds is worth a lot of advertising money, and on the opening ceremony on top of that. How dare they!
Big Sport is very little about sport and more about cultural imperialism, and is essentially part of the entertainment complex as another branch of Hollywood. But to focus on the platform for unhealthy food from multi-nationals at the games is to miss the deeper roots in stories like Sandusky at Penn State, parent brawls at hockey games, soccer hooliganism, sports gambling, and the entire fetish for idolatry that sports seems to promote. The IOC is a law unto itself, a true multinational that also reveals the malignity that can be attached to this NGO business model.
(see link at end)…As it happens, this summer marks the 100th anniversary of the moment when the modern Olympic ideal made itself most abundantly clear. That occurred shortly after Jim Thorpe, the legendary native American athlete, bolted out of the starting blocks at the Stockholm Olympics and won twin gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon. “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world,” King Gustav of Sweden told him as he presented the medals, to which Thorpe famously answered, “Thanks, King.”
That warmth did not last long. A few months after the Games, the International Olympic Committee unceremoniously stripped Thorpe of both his medals and purged him from the record books. Their reason? They learned that two years earlier, stuck for income, he had played some minor-league baseball games. This, in the interpretation of the IOC, made him a “professional” athlete.
There was little secret about what this really meant. After all, the wealthier and more pale-skinned athletes engaged in the Olympic sports of dressage, deer shooting, fencing and sailing had no need to sell their talents. They financed their expensive sports out of pocket or, increasingly, persuaded their governments to give them money to pursue their pastimes – something the IOC was virtually created to help them do.Read More:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/the-olympic-ideal-isnt-so-ideal-after-all/article4415787/
What the IOC does not seem to tolerate, though, is an alternative to the top down model, the kind of vampire, blood sucking investment banking model of a Goldman-Sachs. The typical defense is centered on the lofty-minded idea that, their “enlightened” secular vision of the public square, a John Lennon “imagine” must prevail. This embodies of course a rebuttal, to them, of the patronizing and condescending notion that what
in play is the extent to which wealthy secular society must respect the feelings of the other, as if this “other” was in contrast with democracy, which implicitly means criticizing the Olympics is conflated with an attack on democracy itself. There are some very patronizing notions at work here under the guise of multiculturalism that serve to reinforce some negative tendencies.
Marina Hyde (The Guardian):
“Yet again it seems worth stressing that the only thing about the Olympics for which reverence should be reserved is the sport itself, which will, let’s hope, be as magical as ever.
But on days such as these you would need to be on weapons-grade hallucinogens to be able to discern the vaguest connection between athletic competition and the baroque idiocy of the sponsorship circus.”