Olympic Wet Blanket

I’m going to be a real killjoy and a wet blanket.  But it’s all for a good cause – it’s prevent us Brits feeling even more superior than we already feel!

Led by the BBC, we’re all getting ever so excited about the possibility of our greatest ever Winter Olympic medal haul.  If one of the speed skaters grabs a medal tomorrow that will make 5 medals in total, more than we have ever won before.

However, have you noticed all the new events that we get in the Winter Olympics these days – curling, skeleton bob, snowboarding, moguls, ski cross and quite a few more.  There are almost 6 times as many medals available now than there were in the inaugural games of 1924.  If you take the new events out of the equation then our medal tally would be a big fat zero.

There is a fascinating article for stats geeks on Business Week that explores the inflation of medals at the Winter Olympics.

Nevertheless, well done to the curlers, the Lizzy Yarnold and the snowboarding lass that got the commentators a bit over excited.

Finally, just as a point of interest did you know that the following have all made an appearance as a Winter Olympics demonstration sport but have never made it onto the full programme:  Snowshoeing, Military Patrol, Bandy, Synchronised Ice Skating, Ski Ballet, Skijoring and last, but not least – Dog Sled Racing!

Skijoring never made it as a full Olympic sport!

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4 thoughts on “Olympic Wet Blanket

  1. I have little problem with athletes participating in these games. What I have a problem with is the inexorable robbery of tax dollars. The jingoistic language, used to whip up enthusiasm. It’s always the “royal we”. I had nothing to do with any of the medals won. Either for the country of Canada, or G.B. Yet the media keeps saying “we won”.

    The Roman Emperors Caligula and his nephew Nero. Did similar to capture the ordinary person’s attention from the poor state of their rule, at different times. Arena extravaganzas were their way to retain popularity, for them. That and cheap food, tossed to them in the seats.

    It is said, Sochi spectacle cost the Russian tax-payer fifty billion dollars? The next winter games will be in S. Korea. How much will it cost the Koreans? All that infrastructure? For what? All that money, in the governments friends hands. Few Olympic venues have ever retained much in the way of a heritage afterwards. But the people will pay for it. In the case of Montreal, it took fifty years to pay off the debt. Vancouver, site of the last winter games. Our Provincial government is in debt, at levels never seen before. Yet little is left of all that frenzied building. The Olympic village, in Vancouver, supposed to be low income housing. … Fiasco!

    I could go on? But I’m sure you see where I’m going with this? The big winners are the corporations and politicians. Not the poverty, of the country. Companies like VISA and MC. Sponsors who while paying for the rights, get the money back from consumers.

    Pierre de Coubertin and after Avery Brundage. Tried to keep it an amateur event. As soon as Brundage was pushing up daisies. It became professional. The gloves were off. The robbery of Russian tax-payers and the other various tax-payers every two years as summer and winter games alternate, is guaranteed. So, for the last ten days I’ve avoided anything to do with the Winter Olympic Games. But it’s an isolated position as the fever is upon both the media and people. Yelling and screaming as if they had won those medals themselves. A few golden baubles for a heritage of dust, seems to be a small price to pay? In a month it will be a dim memory.

  2. Yes that is an interesting point you raise about the royal ‘we’. It’s easy to forget how political that is.

    I knew Montreal caused lots of problems for the local economy….my dad actually competed in Montreal and the stadium wasn’t even complete!

  3. Nathan, I suppose the title of your blog might describe my attitude? … sorry!

    The tax-payer is continually under fire with schemes like this. Politicians spending our money, on ways that enrich themselves and their friends.

    The athletes are participants, sure. I can see why they’re eager to do so. Most are scrambling for sponsorship, to be able to compete. Selling soap powder, or charities. We are encouraged to be charitable, rightly so. But there’s another confidence trick…. registered charities.

    If the organizers wish to hold the games. Let them pay for it. Let them hold bake sales or whatever fund-raising they can, to pay for them. Let VISA or MC pay for them. Have a stable venue? Winter games on a site in Antarctica and summer games in the middle of a desert, like Sahara. Lord knows the deserts, are becoming more plentiful.

    The general media is complicate in the current scheme of things. In Canada and U.S. all the TV channels are full of them. Why? Normally sports are covered by the sports channels. Yet for two weeks all regular programming is put on hold, while they show the spectacle. With continual extended ad. breaks. Ad. breaks that tell puerile stories in 15 seconds, about the glory of “going for gold”. It’s brain-washing of an insidious kind. Hurrah for the government that bought them, hurrah for soap powder, hurrah for the poverty on the streets that allowed the taxes to pay for them.

    BTW. BBC is a private company. Like TASS was for USSR. BBC is government’s mouthpiece. The lack of advertisement, barely, it’s only redemption. Yet it costs the person with a TV set in UK a pretty penny.

    Now there’s a conundrum. Officially the country is known as United Kingdom of Great Britain, or U.K.. But it does not compete under the U.K. banner. Now why is that? Maybe it’s a E.U. directive? ….. sarcasm.

  4. Pingback: Olympic throwback: the history of art medals at the Games – The Buzz | mostly music

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