Sun, 26 Feb 2006 21:24:40 GMT
i've been reading various articles on the current olympics.. not a real
olympics, only supported by white people, only attended by affluent
northern countries - mostly U.S., canada, britain and europe... and other
in my initial post i never meant to suggest cancelling the olympics. i
agree that would be ridiculous... my concern is that we speak of the
olympics as an event that brings all countries together, but it does not.
and we also speak as though it were pure athletics, but it is not.
politics abound... the U.S. athletes have a strong tendency to wrap
themselves in the U.S. flag on victories, whereas i did not see other
athletes doing that. if we want pure athletic competition, we need to
work to remove the politics and the strong nationalism that is so
evident. and we should also pursue competition that opens the door to
many countries. for example, introducing snowboarding to the olympics was
an obvious push by the U.S. to create a competition where the U.S. could
win. No, that's not an original statement. i've read it in many places
and i agree. i'm sure there are some obscure sports in other countries
that, if made olympic calibre, would guarantee gold medals to athletes
from those countries. for an olympic environment, such gestures should be
comments that it's been just boring... and i admit, while i'm typing this
i had a choice of watching olympics or nascar... (vrooommm...) and, i
admit, i think there's a lot of truth in these comments i've been seeing.
the summer olympics are more open to anyone who can compete... and it's
much better attended by countries.
I don't know if the summer Olympics are a whole lot better in terms of being
attended by affluent countries. You don't see a lot of medals from the less
affluent countries, because they can't afford to pay for their athletes to
train. And not many of their citizens attend, either.
And as far as the limited number of countries in the Winter Olympics, that's
basically a function of weather. Africa, for example, doesn't get a lot of
snow and ice, and it's hard to learn to ski and skate without them. So they
send some athletes to the summer Olympics but not the winter ones. OK, most
of the inhabitants of colder countries are white, but that's because, for
thousands of years, we never got enough sun to need or develop darker
pigmentation in our skin. It's not racism, it's geography.
Have you forgotten the Jamaican bobsledders? :-)
Seriously, it's not surprising that winter olympics are dominated by
people from cold countries, is it?
But I completely agree with you on how boring it's been. I'm so very
glad they're over! We now return you to your regularly scheduled
i've also noticed a degree of "so, what..." from some athletes (mostly,
unfortunately, from the U.S...) -- who seem to feel it's just a place to
Well, I haven't seen a lot of that, but I usually watch Canadian stations,
and our athletes seem to be enjoying themselves *and* trying their best (the
men's hockey team not withstanding).
You may not have been as interested this time, and I don't know why, but
here, that doesn't seem to be the case. People have talked to me about the
curling and the speed skating and the hockey (which was a little boring -
our women had no competition until near the end, and our men played so
badly, it was painful to watch them, but a lot of people I know watched the
semis and the finals, in spite of our team not being in them).
I think the Olympics engender interest in sport in a lot of children, and
are therefore a good thing - both winter and summer.
Your response seems to me to be dated. I have been an avid Olympics watcher
for decades and I remember when politics was all important- but that was
when it was a cold war competition and democracy v. communism was the issue,
and a harshly political one. If you noticed that was not the case in this
Olympics and in fact hasn't been since the end of the cold war. The
nationalist competition now seen is cultural rather than political and
resembles a kind of team pride rather than political difference. After all,
the politics of Norway v. Austria v. the US is not an issue. Soccer does
not attract all countries, and neither does baseball, even though many
countries play these sports- and most take national pride in their
accomplishments. Judging has become considerably fairer and doping is a far
bigger issue, as it is in sports everywhere.
The smaller countries with little money have developed specialty sports they
can afford, like Kenya's marathoners and South Korea's speed skaters. Few
countries have the populations and moneys to compete across the board in
many sports like the US. So what? A small country can enjoy what athletes
it has just as a large one can. In the forty years or so that I've been
enjoying the Olympics each one is better than the last. There are far more
important things to worry about than any Olympic prejudices.
I definitely saw flags of other countries being waved during the
competition. I also saw winners of speed skating waving their country's
flag as they did a victory lap.
Obviously we see different things when we watch the Olympics, possibly
because we're looking for different things. I saw a healthy mix of national
pride with an international coming together. I don't think that anyone has
every suggested that every country in the world participates in the
Olympics, but it is probably the largest gathering of countries in the
world, and is a start. Of course there is some individual grandstanding and
some overdone nationalism, but there is a lot more mingling of athletes from
Maybe snowboarding was introduced because it was a sport where Americans
could win. I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there are any Americans
on the IOC at present. Certainly curling, which is relatively new to the
Olympics, is not an American sport.
i think we could safely say that about almost every topic... there are few
isues in life that command confrontation. and the fact that this year there
have been more editorials on the flaw in the winter olympics causes me to
not feel my thoughts are 'dated', as you indicate. and this NG avoids
discussion of any 'really important' topics, so we're left with lesser
anyway, it ends today and i'll be glad to see it come to a close. what are
your thoughts on this?
There aren't a helluva lot of blacks in the really cold, snowy countries,
David- and very few of them ski.