Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Is it time to end the Olympic Games?

Olympic Rings

Sport is an important part of a large number of peoples lives. From school to grave thousands upon thousands choose a football team which becomes an almost religious icon around which lives are organised, clothes worn, flags waved. Of course there are numerous other sports across the world all of which have their participants and followers and international competition is the norm. Well except for American football which only they seem to play...

But then what would I know. Sport isn't and never has been an interest of mine. No interest. Bored me to tears at school and I've never changed in that attitude. I've plenty of other interests to keep me occupied, but I do recognise that sport brings many people including my girlfriend pleasure as she shouts for her team as I try to compose tonight's blog. Sigh.

However Sport has a political side, a tribal side and I don't just mean groups of supporters abusing each other. Sport can be very divisive. Hate of the other team seems to raise it's ugly head from time to time. In one serious football riot in 1969 actually led to a 100 day war between El Salvador and Guatemala in 1969.

But the Olympics, a world-wide event is supposed to bring people together as we all admire the efforts of the sportsmen and women taking part.

Except there's been a little problem. Doping. The taking of performance enhancing drugs. In the case of Russia seemingly compulsory for the bulk of it's athletes.

Not very "sporting" is it chaps?

Rather brings performances and medal winning into disrepute and to be fair the Russians have probably not been the only one's at it. They simply got caught out big time.

Can anyone trust the contest that has become the Olympics?

That alone is not the reason that I wonder about the worthiness of the Olympics. There are other, more pressing reasons, one's that are political and are particularly noticeable in Brazil, the hosts of the 2016 games.

A country mired in poverty, where crime is endemic in and around the slums of the cities, where notices have been placed in hotel lobbies telling athletes not to go out running "after dark" as it's "bloody dangerous".

So much money has been spent of these games that could have gone on building better housing, improving sanitation, medical care and economic development. Instead for just a few weeks Billions of dollars have been spent on facilities which will no doubt fall into disuse shortly after the games end. As indeed they have everywhere else that the Olympics have been held.

Instead of competing to hold the Olympics and wasting so much money why not build one permanent set of facilities in one place? The site would be bleeding obvious, Greece home of the original games and each participating country could contribute a proportional amount to it's construction and upkeep.

The current Olympics are wasteful. Time to rethink it's future.

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