Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympics Bahlympics

Ahh…. the Olympics. A time when a country puts millions of dollars and common sense aside to show the world the very best they’ve got to offer. Which in Beijing’s case, isn’t much.

And although in a perfect world, the Olympics would be about the athletes and the years of hard work they’ve undergone, that’s definitely not the case. The Olympics are like a giant marketing campaign where a country covers up its worst and plays up its best. Whether their “best” is authentic or not. (Paging Beijing)

Being a former athlete (albeit not a great one) and growing up in a sports culture, I wish I could say that I am a giant supporter of the Olympics. And in theory, I am. These people train their entire lives for a moment in the sun, for a moment to be the very best. And it is so disappointing to see that moment overshadowed by bullshit politics.

So as much as I’m routing for all those athletes, here is my list of reasons why the Olympics (in my less than humble opinion) suck:

1-Mud Slinging: Regardless of which country is hosting, it always turns into a “You suck and I’m so much better” childhood fight but at the international level. Canadians are talking shit about the Chinese government but you know what? Vancouver is going to get it too. Have they not learnt that you shouldn't throw stones?

2- Television Broadcasting: Let’s face it, if you live in Canada right now, there is nothing else to watch but the Olympics. And I’m all about supporting our athletes but give me some variety here, people. Seriously.

3- News Fabrication: Because Canadians are doing less than stellar (as of today, no medals yet) and because of the heavy censuring of journalism coming out of Beijing, people are making mountains out of mole hills. Exhibit A: Fencer loses, which ya know… sucks and so she *gasp* ADMITS that it sucks and compares it to “getting kicked in the nuts” and is then forced to apologize for her "ignorant comment". The only thing ignorant about this whole thing is making an entire news story out of the fact that an athlete lost and wasn't happy about it. Can't win for losing, I guess.

4- Anything-To-Win-Attitude: Forget doping. Underage athletes is the new black.

5- Misogyny: It is well known that female athletes get the short end of the stick in sports coverage. NBA coverage versus WNBA coverage, or lack thereof, being the most cited example. So although the Olympics typically give fairer coverage to all athletes, the misogyny still persists. Perfect example being the newest rules governing beach volleyball uniforms. Male uniforms? Shorts and tank top. Female uniforms? Bikinis.

6- Athlete Bashing: Canada doesn’t give a rat’s ass about their athletes, says Silken Laumann and yours truly couldn’t agree more. We fail to give them enough money and then we throw them under the bus when they don’t perform well. Canadians are really great for touting the whole “Our Canadian Athletes” and putting mountains of pressure on them without actually giving them any kind of boost to get good in the first place. Then we kick them when we’re down. It’s the Canadian thing to do, apparently.

And finally

7- The Cost: Hosting the Olympics is so incredibly expensive that it is truly mindblowing. The creation of stadiums, arenas and event platforms, the “cleaning up” (read: sweeping under the rug) of negative imagery, the media, etc is definitely not cheap. Yeah it’s a temporary boost to the local economy but then it all comes crashing down when the Olympics are over and nobody gives a damn anymore. Couldn't the money be better spent elsewhere?

And that list is just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm not a total grouch and I will admit to getting teary eyed at all the commercials featuring profiles of athletes who are giving it their all. And if we're going to have the Olympics, then the existence of the Paralympic, Special Olympic and Out games is also mucho importante.

But the only real thing I love about the Olympics is when they're over. Okay, okay, the satire is pretty good, too.


Anonymous said...

Thats complete nosense, the olympics are great, its the one brief moment where nations can come together in harmony for a common cause and there are people like you who have to critisize and try to ruin it for the rest of us

Anonymous said...

Phelps let down his entire country, he is a disgrace, total douchebag

Feminist Catalyst said...

Oh Anonymous Poster! (How I love the internet's anonymity).

How did Phelps let down his entire country by winning so many gold medals? I'm assuming you are referring to my latest post about Phelps and his now infamous bong picture. If that's the case, then I didn't realize that by being an Olympic athlete, one then takes on the roll of representing their country 365 days a year for the rest of their life.

As for me "Ruining it for the rest of" you, I suppose I should be flattered that my opinion matters so much to you.