Monday, April 14

The problem with the Olympics

Stephen Hugh-Jones damns the whole enterprise in general:

Of Beijing's view of human rights, enough said. One could add that China is not the only country lording it over places that it shouldn't, and that for most Chinese people life today is a lot freer than under Mao Zedong. The self-styled Olympic "movement" and its games, in contrast, have gone from bad to worse in the past 30 years (with the connivance of flunky politicians): from conceit to sanctimonious arrogance, from overweight to elephantiasis.

Their driving force is money. Fair enough, but whose money? If private sector companies choose to sponsor the Olympics, that's up to them. But why on earth hurl public funds at these tarnished saturnalia? Have Greece (in 2004), China and Britain (in 2012) no better use for their citizens' cash than white-elephant sports stadiums and a hyperathletics trade fair?

As does Frank Deford, who calls it "NASCAR with accents":

The torch relay was conjured up by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics and then embedded in our dreamy Olympic consciousness by the magnificent gossamer photography of Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's favorite moviemaker. Now, three-quarters of a century later, it has come back as an unexpected curse to haunt another totalitarian government to which the International Olympic Committee has hitched its wagon.

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