Olympics…Smolympics

What the hell has happened to the Olympics?  I know I’m old, but when did this putrid example of global gluttony get out of control?

As a youngster, the Olympics was an event that was treasured for the innocence, effort and self-less teamwork; not to mention 3 hours each evening of focused, condensed coverage of the events.  I remember Jim McKay talking about the enduring goodwill and sacrifice that we all witnessed.  Unfortunately, he’s best remembered for his coverage of the terrorist attack on the Israeli contingent in Munich in 1972.   That singular event broke us of the innocent revery that most of us had for this quadrennial event.  Still, the Olympics persevered.

True amateurs sacrificed  money, time and effort to represent their countries.  They would focus all their energies on this 2-week event.  The Olympic trials were almost as popular as the games because we all wanted our favorites to make it to the big show.   Granted, the Soviet Bloc countries totally circumvented the rules by paying their athletes under the guise of “membership” in their militaries.  Blood doping and steroids were their ways of ensuring success.  But still, the Olympics persevered.

Then…it started.  1992 in Barcelona.  The US had picked stupid college coaches who had NO imagination (John Thompson and Hank Iba) to lead the basketball team to an inevitable loss to the Russians. However, with good coaching (Bobby Knight, Dean Smith), the US collegians would rout the competition.  So, instead of picking worthwhile college coaches, the US IOC screamed and cried for professional athletes to be permitted on the team(s), targeting basketball to form a “Dream Team” of NBA stars.

Thus, Pandora’s Box was opened; the Kraken was released; someone cried Havoc and let slip the Dogs of War.  Now, all professionals were allowed.  With professional athletes comes the MONEY…sponsors, commercials, television networks, etc…  Let the gluttony begin!   Lest I forget to mention, the IOC also decided that year to split the Winter and Summer games so that we didn’t have to wait 4 years; we could now get one or the other every TWO years.  The crowd goes wild!!  Mo money…Mo money…Mo money.

It started with Reebok doing that bull-shit “Dan and Dave” commercials.  They were two decathletes for the US and were being “groomed” to fight it out for the gold in Spain.  Stupid commercial after stupid commercial drove us nuts.  Dan O’Brien was actually the world champ and world record holder, so his involvement was understandable.  Dave Johnson was good, but hardly great.  Alas, beware of Karma.  During the Olympic Trials, a mere formality for these two, O’Brien skipped a preliminary height during the pole vault competition.  It proved disastrous when he failed on the next height, meaning he never scored for the pole vault, thus dropping him so far down he didn’t qualify for the team!!  WOW!  Reebok was, well, humiliated and furious.   Johnson actually won a bronze in Barcelona, but he was never in serious contention for the gold.

Since then, it has go progressively worse.  The opening and closing ceremonies have turned into a Hollywood Gala, puking forth colors and fireworks that remind you of a Walt Disney orgasm.   3-4 hours of bloated “ecstasy”.  Yea….

The coverage of the 4.3 million events is awful.  Hours upon hours of “human interest” stories, vomiting forth knowledge of some gymnast’s menstrual cycle and how it effects her performance.  Synchronized Diving??  Air Rifle??  Badminton??  I watched the 110 meter hurdles for the men the other day.  7…yes, SEVEN qualifying heats.  That’s 56 hurdlers, folks.  I never realized there were that many hurdlers in the world.

NBC shows “live” events of the big stories.  Unfortunately, it’s only live for folks on the east coast and central time zones.  Because the network has to get maximum exposure for their sponsors, the mountain and west coast regions get the “live” broadcast as a delayed event in those primetime slots.  REALLY??  Hello… ever heard of the Internet?  We know who won long before we have to wait for those “live” events.  Oh by the way, with DVR, we never even see those worthless commercials.  But still, the show must go on!

It’s so pathetic, I feel like it’s a 2 week long Super Bowl….even worse. I HATE professional sports at all levels…ok, I do periodically watch WWE, but that’s only because its the most realistic of all pro sports on television.

I hope these events will eventually implode and let me focus on my re-runs of Perry Mason, Mr. Ed and Starsky and Hutch!  God I’m old!!

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