What are the Olympics actually for?

IN ALL THE FUSS about people running around the world with torches, we have to ask ourself why we bother with the Olympics.

The weekend that Princess Diana was buried, I was in Geneva with Samsung, one of the Olympic sponsors, being shown around a museum which had all the torches that had ever been used since the whole damn thing started off again in 1896 by a bunch of nutty Victorians. The staff at the hotel I was staying at had many a tale of the debauches the old buggers of the various committees got up to.

Of course the whole original thing on Mount Olympus in Greece had  precious little to do with the so-called “ideals” that generate a gazillion dollar industry. On the “official Olympic website”, here,  there’s a shot of three chicks dressed in Ancient Greek garb, lighting the Olympic “flame”. There’s also lists of previous winners of the gongs, league tables and the like.

Were women allowed to attend the ancient Olympics? The answer is clearly no, under penalty of death, although “maidens”, that is to say little girls could come along.

As the same site says, the modern Olympics may be the world’s biggest display of athleticism and competition, but “they are also displays of nationalism, commerce and politics”. It can be fun kicking a ball around or running against other people, but introduce the lethal cocktail of nationalism, commerce and politics into what are supposed to be pleasurable activities, and it all gets rather out of hand.

Add religion, and it all adds up to a very toxic brew indeed. 

3 responses to “What are the Olympics actually for?

  1. I don’t know, it is all Greek to me.

    It should be obvious to pretty much everyone that the Olympics or indeed most competitions have nothing to do with ideal, good natured competition, but rather, just another way to stick it to the other guy, rub his nose in it and claim it is all good, healthy fun, promoting exemplary values to the young.

  2. The olympics are for all of the sports that no one really likes.*

    *And political messages.

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