The Decline and Fall of the Olympic Ideal

Being of advanced middle age andonce having been a sportman of some repute, I recall those glorious days of early youth and manhood, when, in the prime of my life I played SPORT. Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Badminton, squash. All of ot Sport. I aslo recall the time, this time with sadness, when money statrted being introduced into the game and the dirty word professionalism was introduced Packer was the bastard behind that first leap. That was when I jumped off the carousel, despite being predicted a brilliant career.The most important aspect of the games when I played them was to play to win but to lose with magninimity. A superior opponent was always recognized and lauded. It was sport after all, and not the end of the world, and most importantly, there was no pay packet at the end of the day. Only precious, glittering trofees for the showcase.


Who cannot recall the spoilt brat Mr Enroe?

Now one sees entire teams weeping bitter tears when they lose and losing individuals being gunned down by irate supporters. The OLympic games and any other important clashes between great teams attract security arrangements that were once reserved for presidents.The OLympics kept itself on an amatuer basis until it too gave into the pressure and all the corruption and drug abuse that the prospect of hefty pay packets induce.
Now Sport is no longer sport.

Or the load mouth Cassius?

One still glimpses good sportmanship on the tennis courts but hardly anywhere else, and even that is somewhatb starained.
It is with nostalgia that I recall a story once told me when I first settled in Norway, concerning the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo. The competitors had to take holiday time from their jobs, and in the evenings dances were held for the competitors of all nations, with an open bar. Sport. OLympic Sport. Now long gone.

And this poor little Feyenoord fan

Looking at the faces of the current competitors in the olympics one sees little more than strain and an immense need to control stress, with the ever-present question arising. Are they doped? Were votes bought?
One should find a new name for it all, because sport no longer applies.

Howard Gamble. 02.08.2012

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