Thursday, August 14, 2008

sportmanship/politics (revised)

I realize that this was hard to read the first time I posted is, so I've edited it. It should be a bit easier to get through now.

Instead of giving a rundown of the past couple days of the games, which btw have been very exciting to watch, but I realize most people just skim over the review and get right to the medal count. Today I am going to talk a little bit about what the Olympic games mean. I realize most people are jaded when it comes to sports, with todays professional athletes seemingly only after their next big pay day. But the Olympics are supposed to be pure, I realize in todays games, most of the major players for medal contention are professionals and some make a very good living, ie "The redeam team" (you will never again see me mention them). But thats not what these games are all about, if they were only about money they would be held a couple times a year. The Olympics are intended to be pure competition, Athens vs. Sparta, USA vs. USSR, whos best is the best?

In the early days of the modern olympics it was unethical to train, it was who was the most naturally gifted person in the world. Laborers who frequently would lift heavy objects were barred from competitions for being "professionals." I am certainly not saying we should ever go back to those days, I think these athletes should be paid, and should be paid well if their country expects them to go and represent the homeland in a positive manner. Is it unfair for the have and the have not nations? Yes, but isn't the Olympics the worlds biggest stage to show what country truely is best?

Throughout history it has sure been used to do just that. If you look through the 29 summer and the 20 winter games you will find the Olympics has become, sometimes for for the better and sometimes for the worse, a political arena unmatched even by the U.N. In the 1958 Melbourne games, 7 countries, including China boycotted the games in response to the USSR's invasion of Hungary. Ironically enough, Hungary was not one of them. When they arrived at the games they found that their revolt had been brutaly dealt with, but they braught their war to Australia with them. The defending Gold medalists taunted and tortured the Russians,. Punches and kicks, while commonplace in a well played water polo match were blatent and vicious. When the Hungarian captain was caught with a wicked right hook to the eye (image above), the Hungarian crowd had had enough, the charged the floor and ran into riot police who had expected such a charge. The game was called in favor of the Hungarians because they had been leading in the match at the time. Team captain Zador said after the match "We felt we were playing not just for ourselves but for our whole country." They went on to win the Gold with a 2-1 victory over Yugoslavia. Since Hungary was now a Soviet state, 50% of the Olympic delegation defected and stayed in Australia. You may be asking yourself, "But what is your point Tony?" I dont have one really, I just really like that story.

The games have also put a name and a face to evil nameless, faceless nations. Luz Long was the darling boy of Nazi Germany at the '36 games in Berlin. He was touted by Hitler as the worlds greatest athlete, the definition of Aryan. But when he saw a black American struggling to qualify his concionse not his politics took over, he gave Jesse Owens the advice that helped him win 4 gold medals, one event in which Long earned the silver. Owens became an instant celebrity in Berlin, 11,000 Nazis cheering on a black champion begging for his autograph outside of the stadium, think about that. Long was killed by allied forces in 1943 during the invasion of Sicily still proud to be a German despite the fact Hitler puplicly beraded him for befreinding Owens. Again, whats the point of this story you may ask? I don't really have one, but its a damn good story don't ya think?

In '80 and '84 the worlds greatest athlets didn't even get a chance to compete against each other, before the Moscow games in 1980, the US led a group of more that 60 countries to protest the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan, and in 1984 the iron curtain refused to come to L.A. What did that prove? It proved nothing except that politicians don't understand true competition. What better way to prove you're worth your salt than to go and kick some Commi ass? In ancient times wars would be stopped and a truce would be signed so the games could be held. It meant that much to a nation to have its heros.

Again, I am searching for a point to this rant, and I can't find one. I was just made so upset today by the Swedish bronze medalist in greco-roman wrestler Ara Abrahamian, who after being upset in the semi-finals walked off the podium during the awards ceramony and dropped his medal in the center of the mat. He claims to have lost the match because of "politics." I watched his match, while I agree he did get screwed, there is no indication if it would have went the other way he would have won the match. You got upset man, thats what these games are all about. You can't call a bronze medal a "Failure, I came here for gold. I didn't get it, these games are a failure."

But, for every story like this there are 10 that make you feel better about humanity, like the mens gymnastics team celebrating their bronze medal, or the elation of the mens 4x100 team when they came from behind to win the gold against the cheese eating surrender monkeys. Or everytime I see a medalist crying tears of joy, because their entire country is proud of them. Except for the communists, they are happy because they wont be taken out behind the tool shed and shot in the head.


bizmarkie507 said...

Yeah Luz Long was a great man. Somebody should write a book about him if they havent already.

And before some hippie asshole goes off on me for the above comment, No I do not condone Nazi's in anyway.

TwinsWin83 said...

haha. hippies. You sound like Cartman.

Anonymous said...

thought you might like to skim this article off of cnn.

Anonymous said...



thought you might like to skim this article off of cnn.