Friday, August 19, 2016

Why I hate the Olympics

There is nothing I hate more in this world than the Olympic Games.  Sure, I know the world is filled with horrifying things, like terrorism, poverty, and Machel Montano’s new movie ‘Bazodee’. But even ‘Bazodee’ has a meaningful purpose; to test the threshold of psychological pain of those willing to sit through it. The Olympic Games on the other hand is nothing more than a bloated overcooked dish, coated in pompous ceremony, stuffed with political corruption and sprinkled with human growth hormone.  Every four years we are forced to swallow it in the name of national pride and sporting spirit. 

 The modern Olympic Games were proposed in 1892 by a Frenchman named Baron de Coubertin.  Coubertin had rather romantic ideas about the games of ancient Greece and of the social value of sport. He felt that reviving the Olympic Games would promote peace among nations and a better understanding between cultures. So I imagine he must have been really bummed out when World War 1 broke out soon after the first four Olympic Games were held. Or that World War 2 broke out just three years after the games were held in NAZI ruled Germany in 1936. Evidently, watching people compete in Shot Put didn’t change Hitler’s mind about invading Poland. 

Forget all its talk of love and peace, the Olympics have a solid track record of turning a blind eye to injustice. For example, in 1968 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was quite ready to overturn Apartheid era South Africa’s ban at the games until international pressure forced them back. In fact, during the games of 1968, two African American athletes gave a black power salute at the medal podium, only for the IOC President to expel them. And even in 2008 the IOC saw no problem as Beijing prepared to host the games by arresting human rights campaigners and detaining and deporting foreign journalists. Or as the Chinese authorities called it; Communist Party Feng Shui.

What the Olympic Games really excel at is pushing poor people out of their homes. According to a United Nations study by the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), more than 2 million people have been displaced since 1988 to make way for the Olympic Games. 720,000 people were displaced during Seoul 1988. During Atlanta 1996, 9000 arrest citations were given out to the city’s homeless while 2000 public housing units were demolished. Before Beijing 2008, 1.25 million people were displaced from their homes. In Rio, 900 families in a favela were displaced to make way for an Olympic bus route. Which makes the opening ceremony featuring a romantic depiction of life in the Rio favelas ironic; in that real favelas were removed to make fake ones.

But the real scam behind the Olympics is in the setup. The games generate huge profits. But because it’s classified as a non-profit organization, the Olympics pay no taxes on money made during the games. The IOC keeps the profits made via sponsorship and TV rights while sticking the host city with the bill. In 2004, the games cost Greece $US1.6 billion. But they ended up with debts of $US16 billion; leaving Greeks remembering the famous last words of Aristotle, “Oh crap”.

Away from the organizers, the athletes themselves provide enough reason to hate the Olympics. The current games, like previous ones, have been tainted with scandals of doping. But doping is actually the least stupid thing athletes have been doing. There is a new craze called ‘cupping’ sweeping the Olympic village. This involves having a round suction cup placed on sore parts of the body, which is believed to stimulate muscle and blood flow. Cupping marks have been seen even on the likes of Michael Phelps. Proving that Grade A athletes can also be Grade A morons who believe in pseudoscience.

This brings me to my final reason for hating the Olympics; it’s not real sports. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the hard work it takes to throw something really far, or run really fast, or synchronize your swimming. But real sports entail scoring runs or scoring goals and occasionally biting your opponent. Instead of judges holding up numbers, they have girls wearing pom-poms jumping up to let me know someone hit a six. It doesn’t sound as noble as the Olympics but the Olympics is hardly noble itself.

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