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. ♣