Sunday, July 29, 2012

Enjoy the Sports, Expose the Politics: How to Enjoy the Olympics


And along the same lines, blogging on the anti-Semitic politics of the IOC, Glenn Reynolds wrote: "I don’t care about the Olympics. They’re a sham and a scam, a mixture of corruptocrats and worse."

So I thought about it. I do care about the Olympics. As a boy, the Olympics helped build my love of sports and the spirit of competition. I have really strong memories, especially of 1972, when so many athletes just rocked the world with their performances. I was mesmerized by it. And of course, the murder of the Israelis was my introduction to Middle East politics. I was only twelve, but the image of the Black September terrorist, looking over the ledge at the Olympic gardens, is indelible. Stormbringer has thoughts on that, "I REMEMBER THE MUNICH OLYMPICS":
I remember looking at the image of Palestinian terrorists in the Munich Olympic village, on TV and on the covers of the news magazines. The Munich Olympics were supposed to be a celebration, another step further in the rehabilitation of Germany's standing as a member of the world community.

Instead we got horror. We saw the face of international terrorism, and an atrocity against humankind unfold before our very eyes.

We could barely comprehend what we were looking at. It was to the 1970s what 9/11 was to the 00's - a game-changer...
Keep reading.

Stormbringer casts shame on the IOC, as we all should.

But I keep thinking back to the great athletic moments of 1972. Mark Spitz, especially, but also others, like Olga Korbut, who captured the world's heart with her performance and emotion during competition --- and frankly showed us the human side of the Soviet Union during a high period of Cold War conflict:

Olga Korbut

And there are other memories, from other Olympics, that stay with you. I think Greg Louganis at Seoul in 1988 is one of those, a spectacular sports achievement. So I can't completely dismiss the games, despite all the horrible political correctness and anti-Semitism. I just try to enjoy the sports and, now more than ever, expose the hatred and double-standards the drive the politics behind the scenes.

Note: As this post goes live, NBC just broadcast American Dana Vollmer's world record swim in the 100m butterfly. The smile on her face summarizes the joy of the competition for so many. More on that at the New York Times, "American Swimmer’s Four-Year Comeback Is Completed in Last Stretch."