Oh, Winter Olympics, why can’t I love you? Summer games, you are a lost cause, I know…but winter? We should be so good together!
I’m a hockey player and fan. I ski (quite poorly). I snowshoe and hike in the snow and ice. Hell, I live in the frickin’ mountains!
But the Winter games are still dead to me.
Part of it — a very big part, admittedly — is due to the sheer level of corruption and insanity that go along with putting on the games. The money involved passed stupid a long time ago, blew right past ludicrous, and has moved well into the realm of silly. For no host city or country are the games even remotely “worth it”.
The Games have become, sadly, nothing more than an uber-expensive exercise in nationalist chest-thumping. Why on Earth would you ever want to spend the tens of BILLIONS it costs to host one? And spare me the BS about tourism and marketing: you could pick twelve million people at random, give them each a thousand dollars to come visit you, and STILL spend less than the Pyeongchang games are costing…
And if the games cost too damned much to put on, so too do the athletes. The games cost billions just to put on, but sending the athletes ain’t much cheaper. And then you get into paying those athletes…and, no, “amateur” most definitely is not a thing anymore.
A gold medal isn’t about excellence, or pride, or competition — a gold medal is about money. And that, I think, is my real problem with the whole thing. Well, that and the raw nationalism…
I don’t give two shits how many medals the US won in comparison with Canada, or Norway, or freaking Lichtenstein, for that matter.
“Wow, that skier is really good…but they’re fucking British, so they can burn in Hell.”
One of my best friends in the hockey world is Polish…and, you know what? He’s still my friend. I still root for whatever team he is playing for…
I very much am a US patriot, but count me out on pointless-nationalism-thing.
Err…sorry about the squirrel-moment-rant — I just happened to read a story this morning about how “bad” the US team is in these Olympics, and about how the whole thing was a failure because of that…and about how the athletes themselves are failure, and miserable people. Yep, you guessed it, that article drove me freakin’ nuts.
The Olympics were supposed to be about individual and team competition and achievement. They were supposed to be about sport, not politics on skis. Unfortunately, for most of the commentators and many of the viewers/fans, they are not about the sport…and all about the chest-thumping politics.
And with many of the athletes, that doesn’t get much better: they are about the dollars and sponsorships, not the sport.
Oh, there are still examples of the “true spirit” of the Olympics (“true” if you believe the old Chariots of Fire image), but they are all too few and far between.
If I watch anything at the Peyongchang games it will be one thing: the Jamaican women’s bobsled team. Not because of Cool Runnings, but because their coach quit and took their damned sled…and they stayed. Red Stripe beer bought them another sled*, and the team is still trying.
*Brilliant damned marketing, by the way. Even I’ll go buy a six-pack of a beer I don’t like for this one…
The Jamaicans won’t win, and they won’t make shit for money, but they’re still trying. And THAT is what the Olympics are supposed to be about.