It’s almost that time again: The Summer Olympics. Unfortunately, it’s worse than ever. (Golf is now limited to pros, too.) But for my new readers, let’s review:
Pro athletes in the Games is sports imperialism. Only the major powers can realistically compete and matches can be obscene blowouts. Little nations better find another sport to compete in. And we don’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot.
The pro/amateur athlete situation leads to such amazing things as the basketball team on a cruise ship and not in the Olympic Village.
The men’s basketball team, made up of 12 highly compensated NBA stars, has a tradition of opting for upscale digs ever since professionals were allowed to play in the Olympics in 1992. And the men’s team even stayed on a cruise liner once before, at the 2004 Games in Athens.
When Sandy agrees with Al Sharpton, (I think I’ll take two aspirin and lay down with a wet rag on my forehead!) it says something.
Al Sharpton says it’s downright UN-AMERICAN for the USA Hoops squad to get luxury treatment in Rio … saying they should show some unity and rough it with the rest of the Olympic athletes.
Why didn’t I think of it: Pro athletes in the Olympics is separate and UNequal and it discriminates against the small nations. It ought to be a rule: Can’t play if you don’t stay in the Village (unless you have a compelling reason).
Pro athletes can also lead to stuff like this: Pros won’t play! They might get hurt – poor baby! Contrast that with those non-pros who sacrifice years and family time and money they really don’t have to go try out for their nation:
“Going to Rio would be the highlight, it would mean more. It is requiring so much,” Priddy told The Associated Press. Priddy suffered a knee injury in 2014 that made him unsure if he would ever play again.
Reid Priddy is a Richmond native. This is from the Times-Dispatch.
In spite of emphasis on one sided blowouts with pro athletes, we have virtually zero chance in some sports like: Badminton. No money for that sport and it does not play well on TV. (Fencing does not do super well on TV but we did manage to come from the bottom of the heap to sweeping the women’s sabre in 2008! That caused a huge celebration in my neighborhood!)
Many nations do not have even a realistic chance to medal. Ask Bolivia. Or Bangladesh. There are 73 nations that have never won ANY medal. (Admittedly most of them are small BUT not all.) Others have won a handful of medals but no gold. Four years ago, this blog cheered hard for Botswana to medal and they did. (Can follow some of that coverage right here from the vault!) How about Grenada for example or Montenegro or Cyprus who won their first medal. So skip the basketball and root for these nations instead! We will find a version of the national anthem and play it as I march about the house with the flag!
My position did not change. I am willing to compromise and have pro and amateur divisions in sports like basketball but the pro athletes push out more worthy amateur athletes. I also do not want the Olympics to be stupid about it like the Jim Thorpe 1912 situation. But the rule ought to be Olympics are for amateurs not professional athletes.
Here is what I said a year ago:
Again, my coverage of the Olympics (Lord willing and if I am still blogging) will not be any rooting of any pro athlete in the Games, US or otherwise, and I’ll honor again those nations who win their first medal. Be ready!
I still stand by it. Let’s concentrate on other sports – and other nations – instead. Thank the Lord I am still blogging….