Are the Olympics Too Broken to Fix?

Prancer

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Not sure where to put this opinion piece, so I will put it here. It's not all or even mostly about Simone Biles :D.

Are the Olympics Too Broken to Fix?

The Olympics are specifically in the business of broadcasting, which accounts for 73 percent of the revenue that the International Olympic Committee receives. “The athletes, they’re not the priority,” said David Wallechinsky, a historian of the Games. “Television is the priority.”

The cost ends up being borne by ordinary people. “While the Olympics tend to bring out the very best in athletes, they also tend to bring out the very worst in host cities,” the political scientist Jules Boykoff told Teen Vogue. Forced evictions, suppression of free speech and protest against host-government mistreatment, worker abuse and arbitrary arrests have become common features of Olympic construction.

In recent years, the I.O.C. has also come under fire for awarding the Games to authoritarian hosts like Russia and China, with Beijing selected for 2022, its second time in 14 years. “The world seems to forget that China broke its promises related to the Beijing 2008 Olympics and is committing atrocities against the Uyghur and other Turkic communities in plain sight,” writes Rayhan Asat, whose brother is imprisoned in Xinjiang. “Despite touting ‘universality and solidarity’ as its principles, the I.O.C. refuses to stand in solidarity with those being denied their universal human rights.”
 

Jammers

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Not sure where to put this opinion piece, so I will put it here. It's not all or even mostly about Simone Biles :D.

Are the Olympics Too Broken to Fix?

The Olympics are specifically in the business of broadcasting, which accounts for 73 percent of the revenue that the International Olympic Committee receives. “The athletes, they’re not the priority,” said David Wallechinsky, a historian of the Games. “Television is the priority.”

The cost ends up being borne by ordinary people. “While the Olympics tend to bring out the very best in athletes, they also tend to bring out the very worst in host cities,” the political scientist Jules Boykoff told Teen Vogue. Forced evictions, suppression of free speech and protest against host-government mistreatment, worker abuse and arbitrary arrests have become common features of Olympic construction.

In recent years, the I.O.C. has also come under fire for awarding the Games to authoritarian hosts like Russia and China, with Beijing selected for 2022, its second time in 14 years. “The world seems to forget that China broke its promises related to the Beijing 2008 Olympics and is committing atrocities against the Uyghur and other Turkic communities in plain sight,” writes Rayhan Asat, whose brother is imprisoned in Xinjiang. “Despite touting ‘universality and solidarity’ as its principles, the I.O.C. refuses to stand in solidarity with those being denied their universal human rights.”
Why are we surprised when you consider that the Russians are still flaunting their drug cheating for all the world to see? The only way someone like Putin will get the message is a real ban on Russian and not this nonsense where they still get to compete with a slap on the wrist. A complete ban with no chance for medals would hit Putin's ego right where it lives. At least the IAAF has had the guts to ban Russia and not let them compete. I'm not sure if Russia's track and field team is still banned by the IAAF or will compete but at least they've been willing to stand up to Russian and Putin.
 

allezfred

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Why are we surprised when you consider that the Russians are still flaunting their drug cheating for all the world to see? The only way someone like Putin will get the message is a real ban on Russian and not this nonsense where they still get to compete with a slap on the wrist. A complete ban with no chance for medals would hit Putin's ego right where it lives. At least the IAAF has had the guts to ban Russia and not let them compete. I'm not sure if Russia's track and field team is still banned by the IAAF or will compete but at least they've been willing to stand up to Russian and Putin.
The IAAF no longer exists. It’s called World Athletics. As to your question, authorised Russian athletes compete at World Athletics competitions as Authorised Neutral Athletes. However, they will compete in Tokyo as part of the ROC Team.

While the state sponsored doping programme by Russia is deplorable, those in privately run doping programme glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. :p
 

Karen-W

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The IAAF no longer exists. It’s called World Athletics. As to your question, authorised Russian athletes compete at World Athletics competitions as Authorised Neutral Athletes. However, they will compete in Tokyo as part of the ROC Team.

While the state sponsored doping programme by Russia is deplorable, those in privately run doping programme glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. :p
Frankly, this line of argument and sniping against US athletes in particular is getting very old.

1) there is a huge difference between state sponsored doping and whatever Nike (because, let’s be real, that's who you're attacking here without saying it outright) is doing in Beaverton or Eugene.

2) the problem with doping seems to lie in specific sports and perhaps those sports (cycling, athletics, swimming, biathlon, cross country skiing, etc) should be removed from the Olympic slate entirely. That would solve the problem rather nicely, wouldn't it and save us a whole lot of headache and hassle in debating which swimmer or runner or skiing or cyclist is or isn't doping and the snide, self-righteous commentary from ALL quarters, wouldn't it?
 

Jammers

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The IAAF no longer exists. It’s called World Athletics. As to your question, authorised Russian athletes compete at World Athletics competitions as Authorised Neutral Athletes. However, they will compete in Tokyo as part of the ROC Team.

While the state sponsored doping programme by Russia is deplorable, those in privately run doping programme glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. :p
Guess what those athletes caught cheating in the US don't get to compete no matter how good. Christian Coleman was the best sprinter in the world and he missed his scheduled drugs tests and had to stay home and Sha'Carri Richardson was probably a medal contender but they banned her for a month so she is going to miss the Olympics to.

 

Vagabond

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While I think that some of Bokat-Lindell's points may be well taken, I have an immediate response to this one:
The cost ends up being borne by ordinary people. “While the Olympics tend to bring out the very best in athletes, they also tend to bring out the very worst in host cities,” the political scientist Jules Boykoff told Teen Vogue. Forced evictions, suppression of free speech and protest against host-government mistreatment, worker abuse and arbitrary arrests have become common features of Olympic construction.
It is possible to stage the Olympics with no new permanent construction or at least no white elephants. AFAIK, there will be no permanent construction for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. The only new permanent construction for the 2024 Paris Games will be the Olympic Village, which will thereafter be used for housing. IINM, no new venues are being constructed specifically for 2026 Winter Games in Milan, but there will be some modernization, and some venues were already being developed before the bid was submitted.

And surely one way of ensuring that human rights are protected is by not allowing places like Sochi and Beijing to host the Olympics. :shuffle:
 
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allezfred

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Frankly, this line of argument and sniping against US athletes in particular is getting very old.
If US athletes and their coaches could stop doping, I will stop.

But this isn’t just exclusively an American problem. See British Cycling.
1) there is a huge difference between state sponsored doping and whatever Nike (because, let’s be real, that's who you're attacking here without saying it outright) is doing in Beaverton or Eugene.
Actually the only difference is how it is funded and you as an American get to say “nothing to do with me.” I mean you all still believe FloJo was legit innit. :lol:

2) the problem with doping seems to lie in specific sports and perhaps those sports (cycling, athletics, swimming, biathlon, cross country skiing, etc) should be removed from the Olympic slate entirely. That would solve the problem rather nicely, wouldn't it and save us a whole lot of headache and hassle in debating which swimmer or runner or skiing or cyclist is or isn't doping and the snide, self-righteous commentary from ALL quarters, wouldn't it?
How about we ban those countries who use whatever kind of systemic doping system they have and those of us who take doping seriously can compete without them? :saint:
 

allezfred

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Guess what those athletes caught cheating in the US don't get to compete no matter how good. Christian Coleman was the best sprinter in the world and he missed his scheduled drugs tests and had to stay home and Sha'Carri Richardson was probably a medal contender but they banned her for a month so she is going to miss the Olympics to.

Two words. Justin. Gatlin.
 

MacMadame

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Actually the only difference is how it is funded
I disagree. State-sponsored doping means the government is pushing athletes to dope. It makes it much harder to say no and takes away the athlete's agency.

This is also why places like the Nike Project where the whole program is doping are bad. But at least you don't have an authoritarian government threatening you if you don't comply. You can also just go to another program that is clean as Kara Goucher did. How do you do that if every program in the country is doping because the government is demanding it?
 

canbelto

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Also, bless your heart @allezfred if you think that doping is mainly an American problem ...
I can guarantee that if you banned the US from the next four quads of Olympics there'd still be too much doping to track down around the world.
 

allezfred

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I disagree. State-sponsored doping means the government is pushing athletes to dope. It makes it much harder to say no and takes away the athlete's agency.

This is also why places like the Nike Project where the whole program is doping are bad. But at least you don't have an authoritarian government threatening you if you don't comply. You can also just go to another program that is clean as Kara Goucher did. How do you do that if every program in the country is doping because the government is demanding it?
So there is no pressure whatsoever in the US for athletes and coaches to cheat their way to the top? :lol:
I'm so tired of the FloJo argument. NO ONE WAS CLEAN IN 1988. OF THE FINAL GROUP IN THE MENS' 100M NOT A SINGLE RUNNER WAS CLEAN. That was the really dirty era of track.

That was also over 30 years ago.
Thank you for making my argument for me because this is exactly how the Russians currently justify their doping programmes. :)

Also “everyone else was doing it too” is not an argument that stands up in court. ;)
Who is "dirty" of the current US track team? Name names or shut up.
There is a long history of doping (and cover ups) in American sport, but let’s just take athletics. USATF had to be told just a month ago that an athlete serving a ban for missing doping tests could not race at an Olympic Trial.
Also, bless your heart @allezfred if you think that doping is mainly an American problem ...
I can guarantee that if you banned the US from the next four quads of Olympics there'd still be too much doping to track down around the world.
I never said it was mainly an American problem. That has been your interpretation. I am sorry if it offends you that I have pointed out problems in American sports culture. Don’t shoot the messenger.
 

canbelto

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I never said it was mainly an American problem. That has been your interpretation. I am sorry if it offends you that I have pointed out problems in American sports culture. Don’t shoot the messenger.

But you only point out the Americans. Because you're convinced that the Americans doping is somehow worse than other countries' doping. Because, you know, Americans.

You've only been beating this dead horse for maybe 20 years on figure skating boards so spare me the virtue signaling.

You obviously think every sports evil is purely an American problem, as if Americans are the only athletes who feel pressure to "cheat their way to the top." Bless your naive little heart if you don't think Irish athletes don't feel pressure to "cheat their way to the top."
 

allezfred

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But you only point out the Americans. Because you're convinced that the Americans doping is somehow worse than other countries' doping. Because, you know, Americans.
I’m pointing out hypocrisy.
You've only been beating this dead horse for maybe 20 years on figure skating boards so spare me the virtue signaling.
As if having virtue is a bad thing. :lol:
You obviously think every sports evil is purely an American problem, as if Americans are the only athletes who feel pressure to "cheat their way to the top." Bless your naive little heart if you don't think Irish athletes don't feel pressure to "cheat their way to the top."
When an American athlete who has committed a doping offence gets treated like a pariah like Ireland does Michelle Smith, get back to me. ;)
 

overedge

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The NYT article is paywalled for me, so apologies if this is mentioned in the part I didn't get to read.

The Olympics also gets sold to potential host regions as boosting future tourism and visibility/corporate investment. This almost never happens. Tourists tend to come and see the Olympics and then go home - they often don't have the money or the time to stick around after they've seen what they came to see.

Whether the Games ever break even or make a profit is also debatable. This is a really interesting analysis of the economics of hosting the Games. https://www.playthegame.org/news/co...financial-costs-of-hosting-the-olympic-games/
 

kwanfan1818

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To answer the thread title, I would say "yes." The Olympics fill the coffers of companies, especially broadcast and construction companies, and the IOC, and give municipalities and excuse for over-policing and gentrification. The host country, metro areas, and province-state bear the brunt of the costs after being sold a bill of goods about the benefits. As large-scale income transfers go, it's a racket that should be stopped, IMO.
 

MacMadame

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So there is no pressure whatsoever in the US for athletes and coaches to cheat their way to the top? :lol:
So all pressure is exactly the same?

There are clean programs in the US and their athletes do well. This gives those athletes options that athletes who live and train where the government is running the cheating don't have.

For me, the absolute worst is when an athlete is doping without their knowledge. We know that has happened in the past in some countries and I"m pretty sure it's happening now in countries where sports are government-run and the doping is run by them too.

Some of those East German female athletes lost their ability to have children and it was against their will! That will always be worse to me than USATF (and other NGBs) turning a blind eye to individual athletes doping. Those athletes made their own choices and will have to face the consequences of their own decisions. Their choices weren't taken from them.
 

Karen-W

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When an American athlete who has committed a doping offence gets treated like a pariah like Ireland does Michelle Smith, get back to me. ;)
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have yet to be voted into MLB's Hall of Fame because of their steroids use in an era that was rife with steroid use in the sport. The only reasons they haven't been voted in are 1) they were named in the Mitchell Report/got caught in the BALCO scandal (see Marion Jones) and 2) they weren't darlings of the beat reporters, who are now holding the ultimate grudge card (and have voted in others who are strongly suspected of doing in the same era but escaped being named/caught and have some level of plausible deniability still).

As far as whether or not US athletes feel pressure to dope in order to win, it is a far different pressure to do so because the USOPC or any national sports federations are willing to look the other way/help you elude punishment than your national government pressuring you to dope in order to win. The USOPC et al can't put your family in jail or make your life a living hell quite the same way the CCP or Putin's Russia can. You might not win but you're not endangering your family if you don't dope in the US, France, Britain, Germany, Austria, Japan, Australia or any other free, democratic country.
 

clairecloutier

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If anyone wants to know how a culture of doping spreads, American cyclist Tyler Hamilton's book The Secret Race is a good place to start. I read it last weekend, and it answered all the questions I had about doping scandals in cycling in the mid-2000s.

Hamilton explains in the book how all the top cyclists of that time period--both Americans and others--were doping. He shows the psychological pressure it puts on athletes. As he says, no one goes into a sport wanting to dope. People go into it just wanting to reach their potential and win. At first, they're innocent and just working hard. The difference between doing okay and winning is sometimes a very slim margin. Hamilton describes how riders in those days were seen as being in the A group (stars) or the B group (workers). He saw the special treatment the stars would get. He also saw that the A riders on his team got handed little baggies when they went to their rooms at night. The B riders didn't get these. He started to view those mysterious little baggies as a "reward" or validation of sorts--a sign that you were considered a serious rider, worth "investing" in. Of course, he also saw that the A riders were winning. So when his turn came to be given a "helper" pill--he didn't hesitate. He felt like it was what he needed to do to be a serious rider, and he saw that people all around him were doing it too. And it just went from there.

Anyhow the book is interesting, if you want to learn more about the psychology or actuality of doping. And there doesn't seem to be any reason to believe that the temptation to dope is culturally or nationally specific.
 

overedge

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If anyone wants to know how a culture of doping spreads, American cyclist Tyler Hamilton's book The Secret Race is a good place to start. I read it last weekend, and it answered all the questions I had about doping scandals in cycling in the mid-2000s.

I second this - it's an excellent book.

Although they were written in the 90s, Andrew Jennings' books about the corruption within the IOC are also very enlightening. Another good one is Richard Moore's The Dirtiest Race In History, about the 1988 100m men's final. It's not just about Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson but about the other runners in the race and their histories (only one of the top five finishers was never caught doping).
 

marbri

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So you think she's clean? Holy shit. :lol:
Pretty sure allezfred knows she wasn't clean.

But the reality is we all know who Michelle Smith is and view her as a dope cheat BUT she never tested positive in Atlanta and they only got her on tampering with a urine sample a few years later and banned her for that so not sure you can really take away her medals.

You just have to write her off as another drug cheat who was ahead of the testing and has the medals to prove it.

Just like the whole podium of the 1988 Mens 100m final but we only know and remember Ben Johnson as the pariah. Even years later after proof people still think Carl Lewis is a legend :lol:
 

skatingguy

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More about how the Olympics are broken but focusing on what a crappy job NBC is doing with the televising of them:

Interesting that they mentioned the use of VPN for people to watch on BBC or CBC. VPN has been around for a while now, but it's definitely become more common for people to have it & much easier to use in the past five years since everything is streamed somewhere now. It seems like a strange decision, given all the options for people to get around their broadcast rights, that they wouldn't have provided streaming of all events when they happen.
 

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