Whatever Happened to the ‘Us vs. Them’ Olympics?

The days of symbolic world-power competition are over, replaced by something less pitched but just as revealing

7/24/2021 7:01:00 PM

The days of symbolic world-power competition are over, replaced by something less pitched but just as revealing

The days of symbolic world-power competition are over, replaced by something less pitched but just as revealing.

.The creators of the modern Olympics founded the Games with the intent to foster peace and brotherhood, healthy athletic competition, a humanistic appreciation of man’s great achievements—et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. A nice thought. In reality, for the vast majority of the Games’ history their dirty, open secret has been that ruthless, zero-sum geopolitical competition, not sports, really gave the quadrennial competitions their sizzle.

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In 1936, with Germany a hostile and ascendant power, the Black sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens shamed Adolf Hitler on his home turf by beating every white athlete in arguably the Games’ premier event. When the civil rights era was at its fever pitch, Tommie Smith and John Carlos asserted their dignity by raising their fists in a Black power salute after a 1968 gold medal win in Mexico City. In the gloomy thick of the Cold War, Americans who otherwise could not have cared less about either the decathlon or hockey hailed Caitlyn Jenner’s flag-waving

victory lap, and then the “Miracle on Ice,” as triumphs of patriotic grit over the faceless Soviet machine.In recent years, such symbolic victories have been in short supply. The idea that each Olympics offers a shadow competition between political systems, or ideological regimes, or ways of life, now seems as outdated as the deeply-70s shag haircut Jenner sported in 1976. When politics have entered the arena since then, the intrusion is often considerably less dramatic — such as Iran’s hushed payment to a judo champion to avoid a match with an Israeli opponent in 2004, or when the Georgian government headtopics.com

protestedRussia’s Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 but ultimately sent four athletes to the Games regardless.Since the early nineties China has been the States’ most serious, consistent gold medal challenger for the Summer Games, even stealing their first overall win in the home-field 2008 Beijing competition. But despite repeated athletic clashes between the two major players amid a theoretical, endlessly-debated “

new Cold War,” the Olympics have failed to raise much nationalistic dander about the superiority of liberal democracy to autocratic state communism, or vice versa.With all their pomp and circumstance, the Games are now more of a showcase for individual achievement than they ever have been, rather than a steam valve for national rivalries. Athletes like Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, or the Chinese gymnast Li Xiaopeng are famous more for their personal trials and off-the-field personality quirks than as “

Rocky IV”-style national stand-ins. In that way, today’s Olympics are arguably closer in spirit to the Games’ original mission of promoting a sort of global humanism and goodwill than they have been since the World War I era. Read more: POLITICO »

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I am that statistical outlier who doesn’t care about the Olympics: figure skating, gymnastics, curling, etc. I’ve lost interest in most most other sports. But even when I watched, the political aspect of it always turned my stomach. I don’t have many nationalistic impulses. actorvijay

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About 100 U.S. athletes in Tokyo unvaccinated as Covid-hit Olympics begin'Eighty-three percent is actually a substantial number and we’re quite happy with it,' the team's doctor said Friday of the estimated number who are vaccinated against Covid-19. TreasureInHoliness 지금은 노아의 때입니다. 조심하십시오 Well done athletes you are the best of us!! (Nope) Why? They are risking their health and their teammates’ health. I think the IOC should have made it mandatory for all athletes, coaches, and other support staff from all participating nations to be fully vaccinated for all the thousand athletes, coaches, and support staff.

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