The Wonders Have Ceased
Sometimes I feel like I'm yelling in a forest (which, come to think of it, is a pretty good description for a weblog with maybe 50 readers a day).
I've tried a few times, over the past two weeks, to get the Olympics some love; ignore the "phony one-worldism", etcetera. The athletes (mostly) and the competitions (mostly) are worthy of our interest and admiration. And then Sheila Copps comes out today with her weekly column, ostensibly a paean to the Olympics, and manages to articulate all the biggest reasons why people hate them. To wit:
"Can it be that this is about equalizing the playing field for the world? Can it be that this is about everyone having the right to dream, the right to be the best? Can it be that this is the one time that the world becomes truly equal?"
"To see a man run is to see a man free. Free from bullets, AIDS, poverty. And in the original Olympics, he didn't even need a pair of shoes."
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I believe Frank refers to as "DRIVEL".
What makes it doubly frustrating is that the explicit thesis of her column is that "..the pull of the Games continues to transcend petty politics." And, "The Games are about what is right, what is bold, what is inspirational."
I could hardly agree more. So why-oh-why does so much of the column veer off into characterizing the Olympics as some sort of HeadStart program for the underprivileged?
Maybe it's not so bad - I'm rereading, and I like the stories of Daniel Igali and Ted Nolan. And I readily admit that I have a tough time reading her without hearing the echoes of 20 years of her BS as an MP. But the drivel above is still drivel. As is this:
"They are a time to suspend our differences, of language, of culture, of religion.."
That's what I would say if I was angling for a job at the IOC, but not if I was trying to characterize the Olympics with even the barest modicum of accuracy.
But what really anguished me about today's effort was Ms. Copps' resurrection of this old canard:
"Remember how Ben Johnson was a proud son of Canada when he won gold at Seoul and became a 'Jamaican immigrant' when his medal was revoked?"
No. I remember, when he won a bronze in L.A. in '84, it was no secret he immigrated from Jamaica. Neither was it concealed or stepped around when he won Worlds in '87. I don't recall a single journalist calling extra attention to his birthplace after he was busted for steroids. Of course, I was just a 15-year-old Olympics freak who read every article I could get my eyes on, but that was before Gore invented this Interweb dealy.
Obviously, someone did, or was using the wrong tone of voice mentioning the same facts any Ben fan already knew well, and Ms. Copps is still using it to wag her finger at all Canadians for our latent racism. Sorry, no sale. And stop it, please - it's not right.
The men's marathon is on Sunday at 9AM MDT. Highly recommended viewing - between the history of the event and its winners, and the sheer will required to win, it's always a highlight of every Olympics. This time, considering they are using most of the route from the 1896 Games, and finishing up in the 108-year-old Olympic Stadium, it should be even moreso.
And then skip the Closing Ceremonies - or at least mute the speeches.