Since the very title is a presumption, it seems right and logical that we do.
So bear with me.
Let’s assume some things:
- The Olympics as in “ancient” games were a serious quest to determine the best of athleticism.
- That athletes from say Thrace or Carthage stood an equal chance as those of Athens and Sparta.
- That judging was fair.
Okay, so perhaps we are not so sure of those things, but the ideals are what we are after here, and those are certainly the ideals of Olympic competition, along with brotherhood, the international symbol for ma and apple pie, and the general touting of human excellence, there having been no Nobel’s or Oscar’s or Pulitzer’s at that time.
So of course we realize that all has gone terribly wrong in the ensuing millennia.
Today the Games are a nationalistic entertainment extravaganza wherein somehow one country is judged better than another by virtue of how it schemes to “help” its athletes win while still not getting caught for cheating. All kinds of political points are scored, lost, won, and wasted in the pursuit. Of increasing concern is the degree to which polluters, human rights violators, and countries unable to feed their own masses somehow manage to sweep, cover-up, board-up, or wall-off, these embarrassments while “hosting” these circuses.
Everyone waits with bated breath, (whatever that actually means) to see what Vlad Putin and his “nipples on display” ego has in store for gays and other dissidents once all the lovely people have gone and Russia returns to its cold, stark realities. We politely have looked the other way “for the sake of the athletes” and most of us will sanctimoniously report that his “opening and closing” paled in comparison with Beijing’s and even London’s.
Meanwhile a half-dozen impoverished countries will bid for the right to use dwindling resources to build venues which often go unused once the games are over, while poverty haunts the senses within blocks of these palaces of extreme waste.
So if I were handling things, this is what I’d do:
- Select permanent sites for both winter and summer games. The choice would be weather/sea level appropriate, but would attempt to locate in smaller, poorer countries if possible. They would receive “rent” on the space and a bit of the profits in return for their lease of the land.
- The permanent facilities would be funded by say a 25-year average of all countries athlete count to the respective games. Meaning that countries like the US, Russia, Britain, and so forth would pay the greatest share. All countries would contribute to the maintenance of a security force both during and between games and to reasonable maintenance of the venues.
- There would be no flag carrying and no flag raising at events or at medal presentations. Athletes would not wear uniforms defining them as representing countries but rather as Olympians. Every country will undoubtedly keep their viewers firmly educated in these matters without the formal Olympic committee being involved.
- All athletes will use the SAME equipment. We are here to determine the best athlete not which country developed the best racing suit/bike/sled/goggles/skis/javelin. Developers of equipment will submit their designs and research to the committee who will maintain experts in all these matters who will choose the best for usage in the next games.
- All athletes will have access to venues six months before the opening to practice on the track/field/course if they wish. A small fee for housing will be paid and for food. The rest is free.
- For sports that are not subject to objective standards for “judging”, i.e., a stopwatch and verifiable goals, i.e., proper completion of the circuit, other rules will apply:
No doubt there are a hundred things wrong with what I have devised. But seriously this stuff is getting to be a joke and something must be done.
And is it time to devise a definition of eligibility? Are we going to have professionals or amateurs or some of each? Since we cannot stop the corruption of countries paying and supporting athletes to give them a hand up, we need to figure this out too. I have no salient opinion on this at this time. It’s fraught with landmines I fear.
On to MARCH MADNESS!