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A seminar and the Olympic spirit
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-09-27 10:26:27
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Reading about the First Seminar on the Autonomy of the Olympic and Sports Movement, I have to admit that I was really impressed. The seminar was held at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, on September 21st and, according to the Olympic committee announcements, brought together IOC Members, Presidents of International Federations and National Olympic Committees to kick off a series of discussions on the matter.

olympics01_400I do respect the spirit of the Olympic Games, after all I am Greek, and the Olympic Games is part of my history, but what this International Olympic Committee has to do with the Ancient Olympic Games or with Pierre de Coubertin, the prompter of the modern Olympic movement, is another story all together. But what bothered me more was the title of the seminar: the Autonomy of the Olympic and Sports Movement.

The name of the seminar leaves the hint that somebody doesn’t allow the Olympic movement to be independent and with the knowledge of what happened with Greece just two years ago, plus the suspicion of what’s happening in China from now till 2008, I find the whole thing both provocative and suspicious. However, let’s start from the next Olympic Games in Peking, China.

I’m not going to judge the political system. This is not the right article for that, but the modern Olympic Games supposedly represents the ancient spirit, which means, peace, equality, respect, democracy. After all, these did inspire the ancient king who first organized them after seeing his land becoming a battlefield between Sparta and Athens.

China, on the other side, is one of the biggest powers, the most populated country on the planet, the biggest market in the world, a huge financial interest for the companies that fund the Olympic pockets nowadays. China is also a country that infringes human rights and that is not only coming from the ‘enemies of the state’ but from the UN, the Security Council, Amnesty International and more legitimate institutions. Tens of people die every single year sentenced to the death penalty while the belief in any kind of religion is an excuse for imprisonment.
olympics02_400
While people starve in some places of China, thousands will work for the glory of the state to build stadiums that will glorify the Chinese worker internationally. While people live at the limits of poverty, they will be working for the glory of the almighty state. The Olympic Committee can be blind when it comes to profit and the profits from a huge country like China are equally huge. So, democracy is out of the question. But why do we complain…Hitler had the Olympic Games in Berlin!

Respect, since when did the Olympic Committee respect anybody? Bribes, sex and drugs, that’s what the Olympic Committee’s motto has been in the last few years. Former kings, criminal dictators, corrupted government bureaucrats and greedy businessmen constitute this committee with their leader and chairman, a former athlete from the period drugs invaded sports, Mr. Rogge.

Hypocrisy is their slogan, every time I’m thinking about it I cannot believe it, a man can run hundred meters in less than nine seconds. That is simply impossible. Mr. Rogge is after doping, a farce with which he is very familiar from his sporting days. They pillory every athlete they can catch on drugs but most of the drug companies have already found ways for the doctors not to trace their drugs, when an inspection happens all the athletes are warned and many of the holy members of the committee are, according to rumours, on the payroll of these companies. What respect then?

olympics03_400Equality? Just tell me one athlete that is participating in the Olympic Games and is not a millionaire. The very same companies that fund the committee are funding the athletes; their pay often represents the annual income of some countries. In the last Olympic Games athletes threatened that they would not participate if their country didn’t promise a certain amount of money!

The athletes who take part in the Olympic Games are supposedly amateurs. Yeah right, just like the dream team that represents the USA in the Olympic basketball tournament - the highest paid athletes in the world! Now they are planning to add golf to the Olympic Games, the ‘game’ that stereotypes the idea that sport is for the few. I suppose Tiger Woods covers the amateur’s prototype!

And peace. This where I have nothing to say. The war has often stopped the Olympic Games, the Olympic Games never managed to stop war. Kids will continue die in Somalia and Sudan while Peking will have the opening ceremony and if it is not Somalia and Sudan it will be another poor country all in the name of international peace.

But as I said in the beginning, there is the experience of the last Olympics where Greece was forced by the Olympic Committee to build stadiums that will never be used again. They spent a mythic amount of money for security trapping the whole country into a payback marathon that will last at least a couple of decades and all that for what? It gave Coca Cola more sales, drugs to have more sales and the committee members to enjoy more bribes and sex scandals.

Coming now to the subject of this seminar, I think that this Olympic Committee enjoys more independence than it should and they are lucky that the government haven’t taken the decision to interfere, scared of the political cost. Perhaps we are reaching the end of the Olympic Games or seeing the spirit of the Olympic Games become a ghost!

  
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Thompson2006-09-26 14:37:34
It's the taking it apart that counts.


Thanos2006-09-26 21:53:03
there is nothing left anymore to apart, their distance form the actual philoshophy and idealism of the Olympic Games is so far so nothing is left!


F.A. Hutchison2006-10-08 02:28:41
I'm afraid Mr. Kalamidas' prejudice is showing... I've lived in China 18 months, been all over, and no one is starving in China, trust me. They may not be eating Finnish food (whatever that is), but they're not starving. The plethora of goods available is astounding! I'll bet even more here than in Finland. Now, maybe he's referring to N. Korea, or Mayalasia, I don't know. But, not China.
Haqi in China
trying to make magic with Ovi


Thanos2006-10-08 11:27:31
Mr. Hutchison, Chinese people might live in prosperity in Shaghai but is not the same in the borders with Mongolia for example. To say that there is no poverty in China is like saying there is no poverty in the world, poverty there is everywhere. But my main issue with china in this article was not poverty but human rights and lack of democracy (and please don’t confuse democracy with G. Bush’s dreams). By principal IOC stands against every country that infringes human rights and China is one of the top in the UN list.


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