Say It Ain’t So!

thirtysixIt’s been a long time since I’ve written–a long time since I’ve found any inspiration to write about my beloved Olympics. Perhaps today’s entry isn’t due to any inspiration, but rather to take a moment and open my heart, laying out some of my feelings with which I’m conflicted.

A few months ago I was dismayed to learn that a record number of cities had withdrawn their bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.  Out of the original six cities which bid, only two remain:  Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan.  Lviv (Ukraine), Krakow (Poland), Oslo (Norway), and Stockholm (Sweden) have all withdrawn their bids.  Didn’t we just have an Olympics in China some eight years ago?  Kazakhstan?  Really?  Never have I seen the selection of an Olympic host city be whittled down by the candidate cities themselves, bailing one by one, leaving the least popular cities as the only two available choices.  It’s already difficult to be excited about a 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.  I’m already frustrated in learning that new medal events will debut at these games:  mixed doubles curling, mass start long track speed skating, snowboard big air, and an Alpine skiing team event.  How much bigger of a circus can these games become?

Let’s see, then there was the report of dead fish filling the harbors near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (host of next year’s Summer Olympics), protests by Brazilians over slum evictions, the growing safety concerns for tourists arriving next year, and yes, the reminder that golf will debut in 2016 as a medal sport.  Yeah, it’s difficult to rally around the excitement which will soon begin building for these next Olympic Games.

Now I’ve learned that in the last few days one of 2012’s great heroes (and a favorite of mine from London) is under investigation for performance enhancing drugs.  Who can forget the gold medal finish by Mo Farah three years ago?  It brought tears to my eyes as he and two other compatriots won gold for the United Kingdom in track and field events.  Now there is suggestion that his win was not earned honestly.    Farah is one of many athletes who continue to fall under scrutiny for alleged cheating.  Some will be cleared of any wrongdoing; others will not, and their Olympic glory will be forever tarnished.  I thought we were past the decade of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs?  Apparently not.  Farah denies all accusations.   I hope his denials are truthful.  Say it ain’t so, Mo!

Sochi’s 2014 Olympics will probably go down in history as one of the most boring and lackluster games of the 21st Century.  The IOC continues to add sports left and right, diluting the value and uniqueness of an Olympic Games and its medals.  In addition, the cost of hosting is leading to potentially great hosts declining or withdrawing from the opportunity to host.  And athletes like Sanya Richards-Ross are demanding compensation in addition to their medals, claiming training costs are too expensive and that IOC members pocket too much money–money that should be given to athletes.

I’m not sure what direction this blog will take from here on.  Imagine how heartbreaking it is for this fanatic to feel so conflicted about the one thing she has loved and revered her entire life!

Say it ain’t so!

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

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1 Comment

Filed under 2012 London Olympics, 2016 Rio de Janeiro, 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

One response to “Say It Ain’t So!

  1. A Third Worlder's perspective

    Hey Olympic Fanatic!
    I guess I’ll preface this by saying that I found your blog about a year ago, a few months after the Sochi games had ended, and immediately became a fan. Your insight and raw passion were such that I went back and read every entry back up till Beijing 2008, and eagerly awaited more entries to this blog. Sadly those entries would not come because, unbeknownst to me, you were suffering from the conflict in your heart detailed in this entry. I can’t stand to see such a great burning fervor peter out in the way that yours apparently has been. So I’m writing this perspective as a way to perhaps cheer you up, but also to contest some points that you have made, because I know first-hand that nothing fires up passion more than a good-old fashioned friendly debate.

    I, much like you, am in love with the Olympic Games. The tradition, the spectacle, the patriotism and fraternity shared by the world’s nations coming together and competing in an inclusive yet ambitious environment in the name of glory, honor and skill, provide a release unlike any other in this world for me. Watching my country win it’s first Olympic medal in London 2012 was an unforgettable experience, and one which I will treasure all my life. Imagine then, the exaltation of the Kazakh people at the fact that their country may in-fact host it’s very one Winter Olympic Games, something they may have thought impossible. They have a chance to show the world what they are made of, to show that Almaty is a world-class city with world-class facilities and an immense potential. My favorite for the 2022 Winter Olympics was, and continues being Krakow, but seeing that Almaty may yet have a shot fills my heart with (probably false) hope that one day the Olympic games may touch my own nation’s soil.

    The same goes for Rio 2016. Rio de Janeiro is a city with an ancient and beautiful history, the capital of two different empires and a republic, one of the world’s largest and most significant cities. Sure it has it’s problems, what city doesn’t? But if you give a little faith to the Brazilian people, I’m sure you’ll see that Rio 2016 will shape up to be an Olympics to go down in history.

    As far as the inclusion of the mentioned sports go, I’m not the biggest fan of Golf either, but one must admit that in order to be a successful golfer one must have as much skill as any Olympic shooter, and as much strength as any Basketball, or Baseball player. Golf is a game with centuries-old history and one which has been featured in two Olympic Games in the past.
    The Winter Sports you mentioned are all variations of existing Olympic sports, and were put in place to fluff up the Winter Olympic’s slightly lackluster roster of events.

    The doping scandals and inflating bid costs, I can’t argue against. Both of those occurrences are despicable to say the least, but if you’ve been following the IOC’s movements and the Agenda 2020 (which I’m sure you have) you know that the IOC is doing it’s best to come to resolutions to these problems, and you can already tell by the current bids (Almaty, Boston, etc.) that making the games affordable in a logical manner is not only the IOC’s priority, but the individual bidding cities.

    Sure, we may be in a period of dark clouds , but the storm can’t last forever, and I think I’m seeing clear skies in our future.

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