This column in Bleacher Report by Matt Hunter in 2009 says it right: No pro athletes in the Olympics!
Olympics today are filled with professional athletes in all team sports in both the summer and winter Olympic games.
The Olympics has lost that edge that it once possessed. The youth and up and coming players for countries are not having the chance to be showcased to the world because professional athletes are allowed to participate in Olympic games.
No more Miracle on Ice:
Who would not want to see another team like the 1980 USA hockey team again go up against another country like Russia who is the best in the world?
Have the chance to watch another group of young men or women go up against adversity, and win a gold medal when they were given no chance at all.
Going back to amateurs only in the Olympics would have the Olympics back to what it is suppose to be.
Who would not want to see another 1980 Lake Placid happen again, and be able to say you were able to witness the impossible happen.
In fact we are the bad guys now and Hunter cites the 1992 Dream Team:
In the early 90′s the United States had “The Dream Team.” There was no way possible that those teams in the early 90′s had a chance against the leviathan that was the United States.
He won’t say it so I will: I don’t want the United States to be like that; hated and resented because we have rigged the game to favor a few major powerful nations.
Now let me say this: How do we determine amateur status?
It’s a challenging question: I suggest each sport is different BUT let’s take curling for example. There are some players who play together and compete in tournaments for small purses that prepare them for the Olympics. But it barely makes expenses as seen in this Internet article:
6. Participate in WCT-sanctioned events. While player earnings are not yet on par with earnings in other sports, top players can earn up to $100,000 or more per year. Even considering this fact, it is difficult for players to earn enough in tournaments to cover travel and living expenses. Unless you are a top player, you’ll need to seek other employment to supplement your curling income.
You hardly qualify as a pro if you barely make enough to cover expenses! I suppose some top athletes in any sport could also coach or referee or give lessons.
But that is a far cry from a NBA or NHL player! The legions of lawyers who write letters like this on behalf of the USOC can certainly define “amateur”. But let’s return to the day when amateurs ruled the day. I think the Olympics would be popular and profitable.
Until then: NOT ONE CENT for the USOC! Give money to a worthy Olympic hopeful or a sport like curling or fencing.