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In Defence of the Olympics


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I have to speak about somehting that's reaaly eating me:

I just watched a segment on Jim Rome's television show on ESPN about the Olympics, and he and his idiot sportwriter friends were making ignorant comments about why Americans don't and shouldn't care about the Olympics. All kinds of lame excuses were spewing from them like, "The sports, if you can really call them sports, are too weird" or "The Olympics are anti-American and therefore we must destroy them" or "There's no NBA in the Winter Olympics, so the Winter Olympics can go jump off a cliff" or my personal favourite "Olympic fans are wussies, and true Americans must never be allowed to like this despicable crap." Unbelievable. I'm so angered by the attitudes of these knucklehead sportswriters, it's not even funny.

Let me tell you something. I've dutifully seen how we Americans have taken the Olympics for granted while the overwhelming number of countries on this planet see them as an opportunity to see how their athletes compare to the best in the world, a source of national pride. Look at Greece for one. They don't always have the strongest team at the Games, and their supporters don't expect them to win the most medals, but they do expect to at the very least give everything they've got. The same is overwhelmingly true with everybody else. For the vast majority of the world, medals are a mere pipe dream but all that's really expected is 100% effort and for their athletes to represent them with class, dignity and honor. Here, we've taken to ignoring our Olympic athletes unless they're in the NBA, and we've also taken to the feeling of "win gold or don't even think of coming home." In other countries however, their athletes are treated like heroes, whether they win gold, silver, bronze, or more often just competing in the Games and representing their countries with class. Overwhemingly, these athletes when not competing, are students, teachers, construction workers, doctors, nurses, accountants, writers, cooks, janitors, store clerks, cab and bus drivers, tutors, mechanics, bankers, and in many many other cases merely being mothers or fathers, and then every two years turn in performance that inspire the world's youth. That's one of the beauties of the Olympic Games: ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Yes there have been individuals who have gone to dangerous levels to win at any cost (amazing how we American cried foul when the East German government had programs as such, yet we have no problem with beating up soccer or baseball officials when they make calls against "our" kids, or even encouraging them to cheat to stay on varsity sqauds in high school, it's a part of the "me first" society here) like a Johann Muehlegg, Ben Johnson, but 99.9 percent of the athletes who do compete do so fair and square. If I were to compete in the Olympics, I would much rather lose in last place as a gentleman, than win as a scoundrel.

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Let the babies have their bottle.  American football is the most boring thing I could ever imagine (except maybe baseball or golf) and how race car driving figures in as a sport is completely beyond me.

To call the Olympics down like that is insulting to the thousands of American athletes that give their heart out for the Games.  They train and compete with intensity all in the name of their country and a chance that comes around every four years for a shiny piece of metal attached to a colourful ribbon.  America's Olympic athletes are among the best on the planet and when they compete, they do it for the chant of "U-S-A".  These wonderful professional athletes touted bye ESPN go for the cash, the bling and the ho's.  It is business to them.

No contest in my mind which is better.

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Would you like a drink now LinkPark?  :grinning:

Of course they are going to say those kinds of things on ESPN - they are going to loose massive revenues and audience during the Olympics because everyone will be turning into NBC to watch what is going on in Torino.  

But your other points I agree with and have thought about before.  I think part of our problem is being so arrogant about winning the most number of medals.  Ever since the Soviet Union broke up I think Americans have just taken for granted that we will blow into a city and take home the most number of medals without much trouble.  I don't see this trend changing until China starts closing and surpassing us which will probably happen within the next 12 years.  

The other problem I see is the attitude of the stupid, spoiled NHL and NBA players who make comments like "I don't have time for that" when approached about representing the U.S. in hockey or basketball. People who are fans of the NBA and NHL take that to mean that the Olympics aren't that important and anything outside of their little world doesn't matter.  IMHO, the worst thing the IOC did in the last 50 years was allow professionals in.

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LA is right.  The Yanks freaked in '76 when both the Soviets and the East Germans creamed their pants in the medal haul.  For most countries the Olympics are a contest by contest event.  For the USA right now it is a two week medal grab.  The Olympics have their fans and their supporters in the USA - why else would sponsors and NBC pour out billions and cities line up and slag each other out if they didn't?

And remember - one of the most watched sporting events in American history was the women's figure skating contest in 1994.

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