James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Olympic Paradox

Two weeks of ostentatious displays, empty platitudes, broken promises, hypocrisy, back-door machinations, finger-pointing, whining, and censorship.


I'm referring, of course, to the next two weeks, the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. What, did you think I was talking about the Olympics?

I admit to some ambivalence regarding the Olympics. I didn't watch very much compared to many people, but now that it's over, I'm already missing it. I suppose what makes the Olympics compelling is that it is riddled with paradoxes:
  • They inspire nationalistic flag-waving of the obnoxious kind, but also inspire us to applaud great athletes regardless of country.
  • Many competitions are tainted by possible cheating and controverisal judging or officiating, yet also showcase the the extraordinary things the human body (and mind) is capable of.
  • Host countries pour billions into Olympic facilities at taxpayer expense, but can revive community spirit and national pride.
  • Many countries subsidize Olympic sports, which is a mis-allocation of resources, but in the grand scheme of things, this is probably the least serious and least costly kind of mis-allocation government are guilty of.
  • The IOC may suck, but compare it to any other international organization: the UN, the IMF, the WTO, etc. The IOC actually does something to increase peace and understanding between nations.
Since the U.S. is the world's most dangerous "rogue state" and biggest threat to peace, I sometimes wonder why any athlete would want to compete "for our country." But then, it is I, not they, who end up mixing politics with sport for even talking that way. All I know is that if I were an Olympic medalist, I would boycott any and all photo-op ceremonies with the President or any other politician. Olympic heroes should show up on cereal boxes, not in the Rose Garden.

1 comment:

  1. Olympic is the place for the sports man or woman to him or her self. Depending on their own talent the status of the country hides. If a person wins a medal, It will be recived by all his country people.

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