Sunday, August 21, 2016

12 Questions about the Olympics

Twelve questions I have about the Olympics: after reading Olympic canoeist Tom Hall’s excellent article in Walrus.

  1. Why is Canada so preoccupied with amassing more medals than other countries when the Olympic motto is about achieving personal athletic excellence?
  2. Is it right for federal support for Olympic sports to be weighted heavily toward those sports and individuals that are most likely to reach the podium?
  3. Does “Own the Podium” express an attitude that is more about nationalism than about the spirit of athletic achievement?
  4. Does the rash of arrests and dismissals—for improperly using positions on the International Olympic Committee for personal gain—have anything to say about the games themselves?
  5. Are the enormous amounts spent on Olympic venues (that can’t be sustained, maintained after their brief days of glory) justifiable?
  6. Do star athletes’ multi-million-dollar endorsement contracts with corporations have anything to say about the stated objectives of the games?
  7. Have we got the right funding priorities when Olympic and international-sport funding is increased while funding for amateur participation in a sport is cut?
  8. If 60% of the National News is about the Olympics, what stories of real significance have been cut to make space?
  9. Why don’t competitors compete naked like they did in the original Mt. Olympus contests? (I know the answer to this; I’m grateful that they don’t.)
  10. Do the Olympics contribute to international good will, or do they accentuate antagonisms?
  11. What is it with doping? How can it even be considered a legitimate adjunct of sport, Vladimir Putin?
  12. Why can’t I think of a twelfth question to make it an even dozen? (Oh, sorry. I just did.)

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