I think the Olympics have jumped the shark

Between a suspicious history of corruption within the IOC, the inclusion of professional athletes in competition, its rampant commercialism, the tendency within the United States to value nationalism over internationalism, not to mention the use of the games by political powers for propaganda purposes and to cover human rights abuses — this year, but also 1968 and 1936, perhaps others — well, I just can’t get excited about the Olympic Games.

Can’t get excited about any of it. I doubt I’ll watch a minute. What do you think?

9 Replies to “I think the Olympics have jumped the shark”

  1. AND … splitting the Olympics so that it happens every 2 years. Bad decision. Even though the specific events only happen every 4 years, it just always feels like it’s an Olympic year.

  2. Well I agree with Lizard Eater, in that I wish it would go back to truly being every 4 years, but despite all the other stuff, I watch it as much as I can. I was a gymnast as a kid, and my older girls both compete (or did,the oldest one has moved on to cheerleading), and I coached for 7 years. I have to say that I adore watching the gymnastics part, and ice skating, and skiing.

    The rest of it I can live without.

  3. Its a tough call. I try to put myself in the shoes of the amateur athletes from all the countries. They have nothing to do with the politics and rights issues. For years they have worked hard at their sport for the chance to compete one on one against the best in the world. Its their drive and inner strength that I admire.

    In many countries athletes often have to work full time jobs in addition to their training just to survive. It is these people that I am cheering for.

    Anyway, I am more of a Winter Olympics fan but I like to watch the diving.

  4. I have never been excited by the Olympics, mostly for the same reasons you outline Scott. I hate this time of the decade when I am doubly cursed by the unending (seemingly) Olympic games and the unending (seemingly) political debates/commercials/news coverage.

  5. I love the Olympics, and (full disclosure) my bachelor’s thesis was even, well, a test of contemporary agreement with the ideals underlying the Olympic Movement. But it’d sure be hard to disagree with your complaints—except, perhaps, the inclusion of professionals. What did you mean by that, Scott? I’m having a hard time imagining you in full support of the elitism that undergirded the old amateur ideal, anyway. Cue that scene from Chariots of Fire with the butler cheering on the champagne-swilling-but-hurdling master of the house.

    There are a lot of sports in the Summer Games these days. When people tell me they don’t see the “real” Olympics anymore, I tell them to seek out sports like modern pentathlon, judo, team handball, and the like. IMHO, anyway, the interesting things are happening well under the media surface….

  6. I haven’t been “excited” about the Olympics since my adolescence, but today was my first day turning them on … I saw a little bit of cycling, swimming, boxing, and gymnastics. But I don’t search for anything specifically. I’ll watch whatever happens to catch my eye. I’m not rooting for any individual athletes or teams; however, I have a great deal of respect for the athletes themselves, and all the discipline and skill they exhibit.

  7. I have mixed feelings about the Olympics at this point. I love the purity of the ideal, but feel like it has become so tainted for the reasons that you state. I haven’t watched any part of the Games thus far. I just sort of don’t want to give my viewership to this round in China, even though I feel like I’m being unfair to the athletes. The location certainly isn’t their fault. I’d like to see the gymnastics, the diving, and so on, but I just don’t think I feel comfortable subsidizing these games indirectly.

  8. Lizard Eater–I see your point, but if we’re interested in reviving the Olympics… they were a series of games that covered a four year cycle, with certain games each year. The big ones came every four, but it was going on every year.

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