Olympic Rant

Essay by spoonman419 August 2004

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In 1992 the Olympic games ceased to exist as a peace oriented event where the competition and love of the athlete's chosen sport was the focus. It was then that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) decided to allow professional athletes to participate in the games and thus shifting the focus to money. "Big Deal," I hear all too often "the best athletes are professionals anyway." That very well may be true, but an amateur athlete's inspiration is not money it's the love of their sport and the desire to win. A professional athlete's desire is fueled by the size of their paycheck and they perform accordingly.

A case in point: Yesterday the USA's "Dream Team" *ugh* comprised of professional basketball players (the most coddled and overpaid group of individuals ever assembled, IMHO) had their asses handed to them by Puerto Rico. Now, by the name notoriety and average take-home pay one would assume the US basketball team is unbeatable, but there it is on the first day a first class beating by an average team.

"How could this happen?!" the incredulous are asking. Well, it's like this: many of the first choices from the NBA declined for a myriad of reasons (none said "money" but I have my suspicions). Coach Larry Brown had ample time and opportunity to recruit our nation's best team athletes, but instead he opted for name recognition and individuals whose main reason for winning is their paycheck. So why are Americans surprised that a team of lesser athletes won?

Along with bringing back amateur athletes to the Olympic games I also think the IOC needs to reexamine the subtle differences in the definitions of the words "recreation" and "sport". A sport can be a recreation, but recreation is rarely considered sport and never...