All too often the disgraceful moments mar the glorious ones.
I was in London in 1972 during the Munich Olympics which had the dual disgraces of the attack on Israeli athletics and the travesty of the basketball final. The current games added to the first disgrace by ignoring the 40th anniversary rather than memorializing it. Then there’s the absurd home town decision that stole a gold medal from Roy Jones and the idiocy that baseball and softball have been excluded while synchronized swimming and rhythm gymnastics are Olympic “sports.”
Do you think any of this could be politically motivated?
In the London Olympics we’ve had charges of a “fix” in boxing; a totally disgraceful performance by a referee, that I saw personally on TV, where a Japanese fighter lost despite knocking his opponent down SIX TIMES in the final round because the referee never credited a knockdown (at least this travesty was later rectified and the decision reversed), bad mitten teams trying to lose on purpose, the idiotic malfunction in fencing that cost a competitor a medal and the U.S. Men’s and Women’s basketball teams running up ridiculous scores against overmatched opponents. WTF ever happened to sportsmanship?
Every four years the real competition seems to be how to get the doping and performance enhancing drugs being taken past the so-called “testing.” Do you REALLY think that a 16 year-old Chinese woman can swim the final 50 meters of the individual medley faster than the MAN that won the men’s IM without a little help? She passed the “test” my ass.
If you train for years in order to compete in the Olympics, then the people supposedly managing and judging the competitions should at least be freaking competent, catching cheaters should be more effective and the coaches, as supposedly mature individuals, should help the players keep things in perspective.
Then of course there is the International Olympic Committee which every four years displays a bad case of misplaced arrogance and authoritarianism.
I’m even going to talk about the idiots on NBC “hosting” the events. At least there I can turn off the sound.
I wish there was some way we could reduce the spectacle down to what’s important, the athletes going head to head with each other for the pure love of the sport. Sometimes I watch the Olympics and pretend that’s the way it is.