I’m not the biggest fan of the Olympics. I’m not against the idea or the ideals, I’m just not all that interested in spending 24 hours a day for two weeks glued to mass media to watch athletic events I’d never watch otherwise. So far, I’ve seen a couple of hours worth, but mostly that was sitting at the bar to grab dinner while on the road.
And is want to happen, I started thinking even before the debacle in Rio started about how this really represents the current status of the planet and society.
Here’s a few highlights. The divers plunging into a swimming pool where the water was so green that Kermit the Frog could get lost in it. Kayakers ran into a couch. Distance swimmers being told they had a 99.9% chance of catching something nasty in the open waters. Body parts being found all around events. I think they could add the lumberjack events because the waters are thick enough to walk across.
You’d think this was Newark in the 1980’s.
But no, this is 2016 and Rio. Zika virus, the Olympic Village walls leaking like a horror flick, and the mayor rewarding the Australian’s complaints by suggesting a kangaroo might make them feel more at home. On the plus side, they did give every competitor 42 condoms. Not sure if that’s an answer to the universe, or just getting them ready for a big bang.
But I digress.
Why would I say this is an excellent microcosm? The world has brought their top performers at the peak of their game to represent their countries. Then they asked them to compete in what should be a showcase of pride and excellence, but thrown in the deep end of a cesspool wrapped in pomp, circumstance, and media. Instead of lifting up one of the growing markets of the world, they spent billions to still not create a safe and welcoming place for the world to visit. And in short order, I expect the temporary buildings will be reabsorbed into the muck and mire of Rio.
Rio is a beautiful city, with a vibrant people and rich culture. It’s government leaves a lot to be desired.
The IoC has proven itself to be corrupt and self serving. Now it’s on display for the world. I would not call for the Olympics to be disbanded because I believe it does create an environment every four years where countries and national pride can shine. People get to learn that it’s just people everywhere. Even in 1936, the Nazi’s awarded Jesse Owens trees in recognition for his accomplishments, along with every other gold medal winner that year.
I believe that there should be permanent sites for the olympics, built and maintained for competition. Different nations could host and put their culture on display, but not bankrupt them to have to build the extravaganza. And the IoC might be able to be cleaned up a little.
Beyond that, the competitors who have made their way to Brazil have proven something most of all. No matter the adversities, corruption, and adversities thrown their way, top performers will always work to excel.