Dubya has a new ad that brags how there are 120 Democracies in the world, up from 40 in 1976. This, he says, is an increase of freedom. Bullshit. Democracy isn’t freedom. Freedom is freedom and must be paid for in your nations blood now and again, to have any value.
Then he goes on to say that two more nations are free (Afghanistan and Iraq) and two more terrorists regimes have ended. Again, bullshit. The regimes no longer rule a country, but based on the fact that the Al Quida’s still running around and there’s still a war going on in Iraq, I wouldn’t say ended.
Finally Dubya says that he stands for hope over hatred. This from the man who wants to butcher the hope of homosexuals who want to marry. This from the man who appears to hate the gays.
Yeah. I’m pissed and Dubya, and it’s not because I’m a little high on fumes from staining furniture.
I love the Olympics. I love the competition, the beauty of the sports and the moments when the nations all hug each other. The times when humans respect each other for their inborn skills and nothing more. When the world is as one.
I resent anyone bogarting that beauty for fucking politics and agendas. As a child, I believed that the Olympics were for the beauty of the world, a time when everything that separates nations would be discarded. Forget war, forget hatred. Play.
1980 and 1984 fucked that right up with a duet of boycotts, and sadly they weren’t the first. I remember 80 (barely) and 84 (clearly). The US lead the boycott of the 1980 Moscow games, and then President Jimmy Carter threatened to revoke the passport of any athlete who tried to travel to the USSR to play. The UK and Australia supported both the boycott as well as their athlete’s right to chose. 1984, LA Olympics, naturally the USSR boycotted in revenge. Anyone surprised? Didn’t think so.
As I said, though, that was not the first time politics fucked with the Olympics. 1968 Mexico City, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos win the 200-meter race, and hold their fists up in a Black Power salute on the podium. They are rewarded with a suspension from the Games and are deported. Why? Politics got no place in my Olympics. I have nothing wrong with politics, mind you, but just not at the Olympics.
This still is not the beginning. The Israeli contingency was bombed once, and I consider it the beginning of the end. The 1972 Munich Games held firm to the spirit of the games. They celebrated- no, they proclaimed peace. Everyone remembers Olga Korbut and her amazing failures and successes all in one games. Well, everyone I know remembers her. What I remember most (and no, I wasn’t born yet) is that early on the morning of September 5th, eight Palestinians terrorists busted into the Olympic Village, killed two Israelis and held nine more hostage. In the end, five of the terrorists, one policeman, and all nine hostages died. To date, nothing has equaled that loss of life at the games. For 34 hours, the games were suspended, a mass was held, and everyone mourned.
1924, however, is when politics entered the Games. Germany was banned from the Olympics, that year, you see. 1936 was the first boycott, when Switzerland and Austria declined to go when it was determined that Ski Instructors were Professional Athletes, and as such barred from the Games. 1948, the IOC didn’t invite Japan or Germany, and most people thought that since the 1940 and 1944 Olympics had been canceled because of war, it was fair. I don’t agree. Punishing the athletes for the fault of the nation is politics. Same goes with the boneheads who, in 1964, told South Africa they couldn’t play because of Apartheid. I’m not supporting Apartheid, I’m just saying they should get politics the fuck out of the Games.
Still, the greatest tragedy to the spirit of the Olympics itself was not when politics slipped into play, but when professionals were let into the games.
The IOC explains that “An amateur is one who devotes himself to sport for sport’s sake without deriving from it, directly or indirectly, the means of existence. A professional is one who derives the means of existence entirely or partly from sport.” Back in 1925, the IOC forbade such practices as compensating athletes for time taken away from work to compete, making it hard for working-class athletes to participate. A little extreme, but the concept is one I support.
In 1981, the international sports federations were given the right to determine which athletes may compete. While athletes must live up to the standards in the Olympic Charter, the door was opened for nations to admit professional athletes. Basically, it’s up to each sport to decide. Now,. athletes are still barred from receiving money during the Games, whether for participating or for winning. 1984, professional soccer players, provided they hadn’t played in the World Cup, were allowed to play in the Olympics.
Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Martina Navratilova in the Olys. But the fact that Barcelona introduced the US ‘dream team’ where we hauled all our ass kicking basketball players … Fucking hell. If I wanted that, I’d watch the damn all star games! I want to see amateurs, people who work for a living and play a sport for the love. And I don’t knock my sports heroes who get paid to play, good for them! But there should be a line.
Either you play for money or you just play.
Either you support the Olympics or you use them as a stepping stone for your agenda.
You can’t have it both ways, Dubya.