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Author Topic: The Olympics end  (Read 2653 times)
Rajan Parrikar
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« on: August 12, 2012, 09:14:58 PM »
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http://pindelski.org/Photography/2012/08/11/the-olympics-end/

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Farmer
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2012, 09:19:09 PM »
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What a terrible "article".  Someone who admits to having watched absolutely none of it pronounces judgement over it?  What a load of rubbish.
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louoates
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 09:30:55 PM »
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Very odd comments indeed with strange reference to Black Power salute. Lots of hate beneath those words.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2012, 12:27:18 AM »
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Not sure about the relevance of this article,... but I am wondering about the Olympics myself as well.

I have watched my fair share of it this time around, mixing various disciplines. I used to watch a lot and have fond memories of the 1984 LA Olympics. I love sports myself and have participated in competitions of basketball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, long distance walking,... I did also practise more casually swimming, soccer, archery, running, badmington, kayaking, rafting, skiing,... so sports has already played an important part in my life and I can relate to the fun of competing and to the urge to reach excellence.

Now, my perception of the Olympics started to go down in my mind from Atlanta Games where it became all too obvious that the Coca Cola spirit was playing a much larger role in the Olympics than fairplay or athlete performance. Or perhaps is it just that I started to understand things better at that time.

Yes, there is still impressive performance on display from the best athletes in the world. It is definitely a good show and fun to watch.

I am wondering though whether the Olympics still deserve the holy aura they have been associated with. I haven't spent much time thinking about this, but there are a few aspects I am not very comfortable with when watching the Games...

The Olympics are too commercial
To my eyes, it is more and more a big commercial venture focused, like all the other major sports events, on sponsors value. The controversy that surrounded the usage by Jamaican sprinter Blake of a non official sponsor watch is a good example of that reality. The Olympic spirit sounds more like a marketing feature aimed at inviting more watchers rather than anything tangible. I feel a bit cheated and would probably be more comfortable if the holy aspects were simply removed from the games and them be renamed into something like "The Big Sports Show". It would be a lot closer to the truth and would avoid us having to lie to our kids about the reality of the world we live in.

The Olympics is too big and expensive
On the sports part of the event itself, I feel that it has become too big and complex with sports like Taekwondo having, in my view, nothing more to do at olympics than Karate or Kung fu. I could give more examples like BMX and the like.

The Olympics is more about countries opposition than togetherness
On the Olympic spirit of bringing athletes together... what stands out is more the huge sums invested by the US and China to keep/gain mind share in terms of World's dominance rather than the possible chat perhaps taking place between athletes. I see the Olympic as a stage for a large orchestrated symbolic fight between countries rather than as a place of peace between people. It was the case during the cold war and still in the case today. I have unfortunately never witnessed fairplay or the importance of participation over winning as an actual value being promoted during the event. The event simply is totally about winning with a slight concession that the 2/3 best losers also get a medal.

Heck, if bringing countries together were the real goal of the Olympics, then we would need football teams made up of players from differ nations competing side by side... Hey... wait... isn't that what we already have during European Champions League? Would this mean that the Champions League does more for the world's peace than the Olympics?  Wink It seems it does.

I guess that the problem I have with all this aspect of the Games is that the very notion of nation seems outdated and more and more irrelevant. The olympics is just one of the most obvious artifacts showing the meme "country" trying to fight for its very survival against the Facebook and Google+ virtual communities that don't care for borders and nationality.

What else?
No doubts the Olympics are here to stay and I am sure they will keep being a nice show.

But is there really now way to have something close to what we have been calling the Olympic spirit?

One way forward might be to come up with something totally different in parallel with the Olympics, a set of decentralized and truly democratic events that would be designed by the sportsman for the sportsman and would, hopefully, not interest sponsors or TV channels the least bit. An open source Olympics. That would bring a lot more value to our world in terms of letting people know and understand each others. The output would not be living legends aimed at keeping the ball running, but better understanding.
- replace country by person as the relevant granularity,
- remove sponsor money from the equation,
- get small and decentralized,
- ...

But what do I know? The Olympics was a good show, it was fun to watch.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 12:58:58 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

A few images online here!
Chairman Bill
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 02:17:35 AM »
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These Olympics were set mainly in London, but these were a British Olympics, not just an English or London Olympics. The comments in the linked to blog about England, rather than Britain, probably stem from the belief that England is the capital of London, just a few miles outside of Scotlandshire, somewhere off the east coast of Switzerland. But I might be wrong. Someone who pronounces on something they've seen nothing of, is probably equally ignorant of the world generally.

I can understand, and share some of his cynicism, but this Games was unlike any other. It wasn't to do with records being broken, though we saw a good number of those. It wasn't to do with the general gorgeousness of the Dutch women's hockey team. It wasn't even about Usain Bolt simply being the fastest man on earth, again. It is to do with legacy. These were the first legacy games, where we weren't out simply to break even financially, weren't putting on a games that was going to cost us a fortune (though cost they inevitably did) which we'd spend forever paying off. These games were designed to leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure & regeneration, and youngsters' involvement in sport.

Yes, big sponsorship, from big companies. And in austerity Britain, the taxpayer had to cough up bugger all. And much as I dislike the business model of companies like McDonalds & Pepsi, they paid lots of money to make this games happen, and leave British kids a great sporting legacy.

And yes, Tommie Smith & John Carlos were great Olympians treated shabbily, and those images of the Black Power salute are powerful & evocative, but I've seen some wonderful photographs from these & other Olympic Games too, and right now, I'm finding it hard to be too cynical. Which makes a refreshing change.

Thomas Pindelski should get out more.
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kikashi
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2012, 02:32:47 AM »
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I didn't spend much time watching as I have little interest in sport, but the nasty, silly, small-mindedness of the article, clearly attempting to hitch his hobby horse to whatever wagon happens to be available, is offensive and demeans only the author.

I can understand, and share some of his cynicism, but this Games was unlike any other. It wasn't to do with records being broken, though we saw a good number of those. It wasn't to do with the general gorgeousness of the Dutch women's hockey team. It wasn't even about Usain Bolt simply being the fastest man on earth, again. It is to do with legacy. These were the first legacy games, where we weren't out simply to break even financially, weren't putting on a games that was going to cost us a fortune (though cost they inevitably did) which we'd spend forever paying off. These games were designed to leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure & regeneration, and youngsters' involvement in sport.

And in austerity Britain, the taxpayer had to cough up bugger all.

The taxpayer coughed up nine thousand million quid, actually. I regard that as quite a lot of money. It's hardly the first Olympics to justify its enormous expenditure by bleating about legacy, either; time will tell.

However, some things were fun to watch. "As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators' sou'westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers", as Boris wrote.

Jeremy
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2012, 02:48:05 AM »
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... The taxpayer coughed up nine thousand million quid, actually.

Where's the 'embarrased' emoticon? I heard some Tory MP say it was all paid for by sponsorship. Yes, I actually believed a Tory MP. If life has taught me nothing else, it should surely have taught me never to trust a Tory MP.

Early on-set dementia? I'm certainly worrying now.
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stamper
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2012, 03:13:01 AM »
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The coverage by the BBC was way over the top. Not only BBC1 had coverage but the news channel seemed to have nothing else but the Olympics. I wonder how much the tax payer shelled out for it? Probably another couple of weeks before they stop talking about it? Roll Eyes
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2012, 03:19:00 AM »
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I have absolutely no interest in sport; my daughter and one of hers were here and sat watching a lot of the stuff as I wandered around from the computer (LuLa, cellpix etc.) to the kitchen, to the tv.

The highlight, for me, was a mockery: I saw the beautiful cheer leaders (?) for the beach volley thinggy, and they never did anything at all during my short watch. However, the actual players did their thing, and what a pity. I would far rather have watched the short, attracive ladies do theirs. or was there no 'theirs' to be done and they were simply window dressing, bait for ever-hopefuls such as I? As for the sponsorship from Visa...

In equally serious vein: Olympics spirit used to be about the amateur. The moment you include pros you have killed both the ideal and the level playing field, the latter very apt here but just as illusory as anywhere else.

I think these events are huge wastes of money, whether private or public. They are the equivalent of the Roman death games with lions, tigers, slaves and various nitwits with swords, pikes, nets and chains. Or is that just Hollywood? If that amount of money is available to spend, then surely to God the world needs financial help in better directions? They could start by buying me that '59 de Ville already refurbished! I do a very low mileage, so it wouldn't hurt.

Rob C
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georgek
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2012, 03:21:05 AM »
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These games were designed to leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure & regeneration, and youngsters' involvement in sport.

Cost of the games met by sponsors, the infrastructure by public money. Hopefully, like Bill said, these are going to be the first games to leave a lasting legacy!
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Fips
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2012, 03:43:41 AM »
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Quote
These games were designed to leave a lasting legacy of infrastructure & regeneration, and youngsters' involvement in sport.

I'm really not an expert on the history of the Olympics, but I guess a lasting legacy has always been an intent of the organizing cities. Take the '72 games in Munich for example. Most of the former Olympic venues are still used today. IMHO the Olympiapark is one of the nicest places in the city today. The Olympics village next to it is a very popular residential area.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2012, 04:00:51 AM »
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I'm really not an expert on the history of the Olympics, but I guess a lasting legacy has always been an intent of the organizing cities.

I think it's been more a nice side-effect rather than a specific intention
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stamper
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2012, 04:31:07 AM »
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There is a lot of propaganda being peddled by the Government and it's stooges about the Olympics. On the face of it there has been a success with the regards to medals. It will take a while for the dust to settle and the "real" gains and more importantly the losses to be assessed and even then the propaganda will still be forthcoming. By that time Lord Coe will have banked his earnings and the profiteers will have moved theirs off shore to avoid tax. 
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Fips
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2012, 04:33:12 AM »
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I believe it was actually planned that way. The same can be said about the olympic villages in Berlin (ok, maybe not the best example from a historical point of view  Undecided ) and Barcelona. At least those are the ones where I specifically read about it.
I guess nowadays you can't really justify to the taxpayers the spending of hundreds of gazillions of whatever currency to build a whole new urban district out of thin air without a good concept of what to do with it after the event.


By the way, I'd really like to see some of the more fun events reintroduced. Like dueling, live pigeon shooting, and solo synchronized swimming  Cheesy
Have at look at this.  
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WalterEG
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 05:44:59 AM »
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The legacy in Sydney was essentially a white elephant with a football park attached.

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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2012, 09:22:25 AM »
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The legacy in Sydney was essentially a white elephant with a football park attached.





The last legacy we were bleeding over in the UK was that of the anointed, teflon saint: Anthony Blair. Some effin' legacy!

Rob C
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Justan
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2012, 10:44:51 AM »
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The legacy in Sydney was essentially a white elephant with a football park attached.



Sadly the Olympics has become the ultimate sucker-punch for the people who live around a host city and also a little (too little) about athleticism.
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2012, 01:15:36 PM »
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Cost of the games met by sponsors, the infrastructure by public money. Hopefully, like Bill said, these are going to be the first games to leave a lasting legacy!



But a legacy of what? At least Barcelona got some new roads, available to all. You might get lost finding them, but once you do, they take you where you want to go. Once you get to France, though, you discover that all roads lead to Paris; heaven help you if you want to go from left to right or even top to bottom; you are almost obliged to gravitate to the capital which becomes very difficult to avoid, which I always managed to do, just. I love LuLa; so very broad.

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 01:27:14 PM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2012, 01:21:15 PM »
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Where's the 'embarrased' emoticon? I heard some Tory MP say it was all paid for by sponsorship. Yes, I actually believed a Tory MP. If life has taught me nothing else, it should surely have taught me never to trust a Tory MP.

Early on-set dementia? I'm certainly worrying now.


Perhaps my own mind wanders; was it a Tory who 'won' us the 'opportunity' to host the games? Have we, they been in power that long? (Thought it was still a honeymoon with two brides, or is that apprentices?)

Rob C
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kikashi
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2012, 01:35:40 PM »
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Perhaps my own mind wanders; was it a Tory who 'won' us the 'opportunity' to host the games? Have we, they been in power that long? (Thought it was still a honeymoon with two brides, or is that apprentices?)

Rob C

It was, at least in part, His Toniness Blair. So yes, a Tory of sorts.

Jeremy
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