Today’s edition of My 2 Sense was written by frequent contributor to More Sports Now, Sal Marinello, President, Athletic Development Coaching.
The Olympics have outlived their usefulness and need to go away. The International Olympic Committee is, and the individual national committees are, corrupt. The IOC only cares about money, and is indistinguishable from the professional sports leagues, particularly the NFL.
The Olympics have morphed into a power/money-hungry behemoth, a classic case of how a legitimate organization devolves to the point of self-parody. Look at what the Olympic Ideal – ‘Olympism’ – is and what concepts this expresses, and compare this philosophy to the reality of what the Olympics really are, and the conclusion should be that the real Olympics are dead.
The recent horror stories from Sochi and Rio are just the tip of the iceberg and should serve to be the coup de grace for the corrupt and rotten International Olympic Committee, and all of their minions who serve the Olympic committee of the member nations. The trail of broken promises that has lead to financial failures has been well-documented. There is no need to recount all of the scandals, the graft, the bribes, the fails; that’s what Google is for.
The current Russian Doping Scandal, and subsequent banning of Russia’s track and field team from Rio’s 2016 Summer Games, serves as another reminder of how far away today’s Olympic participants are from the Olympic values as elucidated by the IOC; ‘Excellence,’ ‘Friendship,’ and ‘Respect.’
While it’s very easy – too easy – to lay all of the blame at the feet of the coaches and the other administrators of the Russian Olympic track and anti-doping programs, the athletes should not be seen as helpless pawns who were powerless to NOT be doped. They took the drugs, won the medals, kept the medals, went along with the scam, and went about their business training to compete and cheat this summer.
Soldiers who commit the most heinous acts at the behest of their officer class are not excused simply because they followed orders. And while the Olympics clearly aren’t war, athletes should be held accountable for their actions.
Minimizing the complicity of Russian athletes by many in the media has been an amazing, and disappointing, spectacle. You can’t have a doping scandal unless there are athletes who are willing to dope and keep quiet about it.
Speaking of athletes, back in the old days, even in most of our lifetimes, the concept of ‘Amateurism’ meant something. Stood for something positive and pure. For as misguided as the concept was, athletes competed for the purist of motives, the love of the game, so to speak.
Now all of the Olympic athletes are basically professionals. Outright professional athletes can now compete in the Olympics, side-by-side with and against the ‘Faux Amateurs,’ to pad the IOC’s bottom line. Amateurism was the standard to uphold until the IOC realized that making money for the IOC was a better idea, especially for the IOC.
The IOC has sold out and they allow Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to be major sponsors, purveyors of foods and beverages that can hardly be considered Olympic-quality, or the stuff that fuels Gold Medal performances. The IOC will take money from anyone. Now the IOC is hardly the only sports entity that has taken sponsorship money from fast food and beer and soda companies. And other junk food concerns.
But pro sports is pro sports and makes no bones about it. The IOC pretends they are all about the Olympic Ideal and are probably more commercial than the most commercial entities on the planet.
So let’s go whole hog and turn this Olympic mishegas over to the real professionals who know how to line their pockets and also turn a hefty profit for their ‘partners.’ Let GE or Coke or Coors or Budweiser or (gasp!) Nike run the whole thing. Or maybe Draft Kings or Fan Duel. Better yet a pharmaceutical company.
Out with the tin pot sports despots and in with the corporate suits.
Let the corporate masters work with and financially support WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, so that the testers have a better chance to catch the cheaters. Or don’t. Since athletes don’t seem particularly keen on cleaning up their own sports why should we – spectators – care so much?
Whether or not there is another entity who can, or who’d be willing to, continue to carry the torch to conduct some kind of world games, certainly the Olympics are dead and should be buried.