Friday, August 10, 2012

Extravagant Redundant Olympics by Louis Evan Palmer

When the modern Olympics were reconstituted in 1896, there were few, if any, international sporting events. Bringing athletes together every four years from a number of countries was a good exercise in peaceful relations and served to inspire people and athletes alike.

Nowadays, it seems superfluous. There are international & national federations for every Olympic event who hold large world-class competitions annually so that in any given year, an athlete in any given sport can compete several times a year at the very top levels.
Given that, we can safely say that the Olympics are superfluous from the perspective of affording world-class competition. In fact, the Olympics are un-necessary and extravagant when fans and supporters can easily go to world-class competitions of the sports they follow.

Why continue with these immensely costly exercises in civic and national pride when they add nothing to the opportunities available to top-notch athletes that can't be gained by enhancing their national and international sporting bodies at far less cost and effort?

Is it only for publicity's sake that we're assuming huge debts and creating huge security exposures? Is it the Olympics rituals and ceremonies that make us willing to go such great lengths to host these games? Is to feed national pride and build international stature? It's likely all three reasons and more; is it worth it?

Some of the sports have their own highly successful leagues and championships to which competing in the Olympics can only add confusion and risk. Soccer (or football) leaps to mind. Do we need more?

There may come a time when no city will bid to host the Olympics. It will be seen to be what it has become - extravagant and redundant.  

Extravagant Redundant Olympics, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
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Copyright 2012 Louis Evan Palmer He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.