Let’s abol­ish the Olympic games, shall we?

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/analysis - Opin­ion David Macaray

OKAY, maybe not ev­ery­body. Not the movers and shak­ers who profit from the Games’ in­tri­ca­cies, not the bro­kers, not the travel agen­cies, not the gougers, swindlers and par­a­sites who come out of the wood­work, and cer­tainly not the swin­ish IOC syco­phants whose snouts are buried so deep in the money trough, they have to force them­selves to come up oc­ca­sion­ally for air.

Ask the 4 200 fam­i­lies in Rio de Janeiro who were forcibly re­moved from their mod­est homes in or­der to make room for Olympic venue con­struc­tion.

Ask them in Por­tuguese if they are “proud” to see Brazil host the Games (the first South Amer­i­can coun­try to be so hon­oured), and ask if that “pride” off­sets be­ing up­rooted and dis­carded.

In the mid-1950s, peo­ple rightly com­plained and protested when a few hun­dred Mex­i­canAmer­i­can fam­i­lies were evicted from Chavez Ravine to make room for Dodger Sta­dium.

While this was un­de­ni­ably an un­var­nished power-play or­ches­trated by the money boys, com­pared to the in­ter­na­tional-scale mis­chief be­ing done in Rio de Janeiro, that Ravine de­ba­cle, dis­grace­ful as it was, barely moves the nee­dle.

Also, con­sider the Big Pic­ture: If we look solely at the net ef­fects on a host coun­try’s econ­omy, the Olympic Games, his­tor­i­cally, have been no­to­ri­ously dis­rup­tive.

The last Games that didn’t plun­der the econ­omy was the 1984 Games, held in LA, and the fact that they man­aged to come out ahead was largely the re­sult of luck.

Didn’t it take Montreal (site of the 1976 Olympics) some­thing like 25 years to pay off the debt they in­curred? In truth, host­ing the Games is noth­ing more than a van­ity move done in the ser­vice of a minis­cule per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion.

More­over, what­ever “pur­pose” the Olympics once served, it has long since been erased, if not flouted. The world is in­fin­itely smaller than it was in 1896, the year of the first Games—back when it took Amer­i­cans two weeks to cross the ocean to com­pete on for­eign soil, and when only a hand­ful of peo­ple (mainly stu­dents and teachers) could even lo­cate Ethiopia on a map, much less claim to have met a cit­i­zen.

To­day there are two Ethiopian restau­rants in Los An­ge­les. One of them is right down the road from a So­mali cafe, not far from the Ukrainian deli and a Thai take-out that used to be a Turk­ish cof­fee­house.

Alas, the Olympic Games are anachro­nism, a throw­back to an­other era.

All good things must end, in­clud­ing the an Soap Box Derby, the Pills­bury Bake-Off, and the swim­suit por­tion of the Miss Amer­ica Beauty Pageant.

The world has shrunk. For cry­ing out loud, I get e-mails from Africa. I cor­re­spond with wealthy Nige­rian wid­ows ask­ing me to help them re­cover money (“Dear­est Beloved”). I’m still weigh­ing their of­fers.

Maybe the best ar­gu­ment for abol­ish­ing the Games is the fact that so many events now fea­ture pro­fes­sional ath­letes.

How re­pug­nant and self-de­struc­tive is that? The one as­pect that made the Olympics watch­able—its am­a­teurism and “in­no­cence”— is now gone.

Does any­one hon­estly get a thrill from watch­ing a group of NBA all-stars de­mol­ish a team from Mon­go­lia by 44 points? (“USA! USA! USA!)

And speak­ing of money, there’s the $1.2 bil­lion that NBC paid for rights to broad­cast the 2016 Games. $1.2 bil­lion?? Holy dec­i­mal point, Bat­man!

If we won­der why there’s so many com­mer­cials, that’s what you get when the net­work needs to sell $1.2 bil­lion worth of air time to ad­ver­tis­ers in or­der to re­coup its in­vest­ment.

This whole thing dis­turbs me. It bugs me. I think maybe I need a drink. I pre­fer Reyka vodka. It’s from Ice­land. Join the de­bate on Face­book

David Macaray is a play­wright and author. His new­est book is “Night­shift: 270 Fac­tory Sto­ries.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

The open­ing cer­e­mony pro­vided some mem­o­rable and spec­tac­u­lar mo­ments for the Olympic Games cur­rently un­der­way in Rio

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.