I wrote a polemic on the blog a few days ago on the O-limp-ic Games.
I wrote the need for a new kind of athlete free from obsessing about winning and losing, and obsessing with time/performance and selfie existence.
I also wrote about the countless empty seats, rows and rows of them, at all of the stadiums – despite the best efforts of television crews to focus only on small groups of cheering spectators. Rio citizens have turned their back on the Games.
This blog describes the Olympic Games as the O-lump-ic Games with the huge sums of money lumped on stadiums and athletes to enable them to get a medal.
The question is simple.
Which countries spend the most money on their Olympic athletes?
Answer. USA, UK, China and Russia.
What countries are at the top of the medal table?
Answer: USA, UK, China and Russia.
What football clubs rule English football?
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
What are the four richest clubs in English football?
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
The egos of the owners, managers and players of these football clubs boiled over last season. The four richest clubs and their supporters ended up like a dysfunctional family. Last season, the owners of three of these big clubs fired their managers after a season of disarray in the respective clubs. The Arsenal manager survived the regular booing of the fans and demands for him to quit. The chaotic season of the Big Four enabled Leicester with its team spirit to hit top spot for a season.
The rest of the teams in the Premier football division are also rans. The vast majority of athletes from the vast majority of nations are also-rans – literally in many cases, as well as in metaphorical terms. Outside of a handful of economically rich nations, the rest of the world’s nations competing in the O-lump-ics have not got a dog’s chance of winning more than a medal or two. Run your eye down the medal list.
Money Can Buy You Success
Money can’t buy love but it certainly can buy you success. Take the UK. In 1996, UK sport spent £5 million on its Olympic sportsmen and women. Team GB was a long, long way down the medal table.
The then Prime Minister, John Major, decided to boost GB’s sense of superiority in the world so he allocated money from the national lottery to the Olympic committee so we could win more medals. Medals matter more for politicians than the needs of the people.
In the space of 20 years, these public funds, originally earmarked for worthwhile charitable projects, went to sportsmen and women. It amounted to a 70 times increase in funding from the lottery to £350 million from £5 million for British athletes.
Today, UK Sports pay top rates for the best facilities, best coaches, best equipment, best clothing, best nutritionists, best psychologists and best physiotherapists. Our athletes receive the best of everything. They were given every conceivable support to ensure they improved their performances and times.
The poor nations of the world could not possibly compete with the massive expenditure and attention to detail that the British government could afford to give their athletes. It is the same for USA, China and Russia.
British athletes also received up to £28,000 in grants to help support their training, plus lots of extra travel benefits, income from corporate sponsorship and support from endless experts.
So far, it has cost around £6 million per medal for every British athlete who gets a medal. Think about it. £6 million of public money for an athlete to win a medal and for the British public to experience a short-lived feel good factor. Then the same fans wake up in the morning to go back to their daily life. A recent British survey showed that 37% of citizens hate their jobs.
93% of British athletes are white and 7% are non-white while 26% per cent received a private education owing to parents with a significant income. The athletes fail to reflect the diversity in the country. The really poor cannot afford to send their kids to after school sport activities on a weekly basis.
We should cheer on the athletes in the poor nations who win a medal despite minimal support. We should invite them to be on the victory buses in London. These athletes from poor nations are truly exceptional. They deserve an Olympic medal for getting to the Games to compete.
Don’t Blame the Athletes
Never was so much money spent on so few people. We can’t blame the athletes. They love their particular sport. They make genuine sacrifices throughout the year to win competitions. The British athletes have expressed a huge amount of gratitude to all those who helped make them the best of athletes.
We cannot expect any athlete to express a whisper of concern about the politics of the Olympic Games. You will not hear a word from them. Large corporations own the mind, body and soul of the athletes. The athletes sign a lucrative contract with their sponsors to show their logo.
The contract prevents athletes from expression of any political/social view whatsoever. If athletes express critical views about governments, corporations, extravagant expenditure or unethical practices, they will upset certain sections of society. The athletes must remain totally silent and neutral. The major corporations fear losing customers if their sponsored athletes express views that differ from their customers. The customers might refuse to buy the products that the athletes endorse.
The athletes find themselves confined to criticism of drug cheats, who tarnish the Olympic brand, which generates doubts among the customers about sport and its products.
The politicians, corporate sponsors and IOC (International Olympic Committee) have manufactured the Olympic Games into a business/nation state product.
Meanwhile, the cleaners in the Olympic Games village get paid £1.40 per hour – about half the usual rate for cleaners in Rio. The Rio government and IOC have exploited the desperate need of the poor in Rio for work.
Hypocrisy of the British Government
There is an obesity of extravagance about the O-lump-ic Games. The Games serve as a major distraction from the real issues facing society such as global warming, wars, inequality, Islamophobia and the desperate living standards of countless numbers.
The British government and the BBC will ensure a massive welcome home for our triumphant athletes, who return home with their medals and even more money in the future for their sport.
The far right policies of the new British government have little real interest in sport. They made these large sums of money available to glorify nationalism. Sports serves the vested interests of the nation state and major corporations.
The British government has already scrapped the Ministry for Climate Change. Within a generation or two, the Earth will reach a point where it will be impossible to hold the Summer Olympics because the weather will be too hot. Business, profit and short term gain matters far more in the politics of the far right than a sustainable world.
The British government has also axed legislation to tackle obesity in Britain. The government has ordered the removal of restrictions on advertising and promotion of junk food. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has basically told the junk food industry that they can continue as before.
One third of British children are obese or significantly overweight. Obesity doubles the risk for children of heart disease, cancer and ongoing poor health. The government has reduced the 50-page document on reducing obesity down to 11 pages. Obesity cripples adults, children and the NHS.
Obese children can hardly walk 100 metres without catching their breath, let alone run 100 metres. That doesn’t matter for the British government. It’s the economy that comes first.
A Brief Concern about the Future of the Olympics
Scientists produce drugs, legal and illegal, to support the sports industry. Scientists now turn their attention to gene doping. They engage in experiments to exploit a and develop a specific molecule into the DNA to enable the blood to carry more oxygen and make better use of muscles. It will also be very difficult to detect such changes in the DNA of an athlete.
Coaches of athletes have already approached gene scientists working in these areas.
If we turn a blind eye to the privileged financial elitism, we can cheer all day Team GB in the Rio Olympics.
World records might start to tumble with gene doping.
GM Olympics are not far away. Then Games might need to be renamed GM Olympcrops.
May all beings be free from nationalism
May all beings be free from corporate ownership
May all beings be free to express themselves.