Monday, 25 August 2008

The Olympic Ideal tarnished?

I have enjoyed a lot of the sport in the Olympics but the whole thing has left me with a few concerns.

1. The way that China approaches sport through the setting up of sports factories to mass produce athletes to compete, taking young children and putting them through a gruelling program until they are either the best of they break (physically or mentally). I am not bothered that the two Chinese gymnasts might have been under the age of 16 but rather when interviewed they admitted having not talked to their parents for over a year and not being home for 5 years. China seems to have missed the point, after all its not the winning but the taking part. Apparently after the star Chinese hurdler pulled out with an injury the state media was broadcasting reassurance that it was okay to still support him despite the fact that he had failed.

2. Some of the judging is set up to fail. By placing a judge in each corner of the ring/ mat so at least one will not see each punch /move/ throw and these leads to some wild inaccuracies in the scoring. The TV coverage is so good and general from a good angle that the judges often are better off watching the TV.

3. The lengths that the Chinese were prepared to go to enjoy success. The fabrication of passports for athletes, sentencing old women to hard labour for protesting that they were not paid for the compulsory purchase of their house, arresting people who went to the official protest area they had set-up, the forced clearance of residents from various areas and all of the other various issues that have arisen makes it questionable whether the decision to locate the games in China was a good one - despite the quality of the sport.

4. Selling a lot of tickets to sponsors who then don't turn up leaving half empty arenas while real fans can't get tickets. Why not re-sell any seats that are not filled 10 mins from the start.

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