The Olympics are bad. They have been bad for quite some time. The entire format of the competition, hosting selection, and benefits for host cities need a complete overhaul.
It has seemed over the last couple decades that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been in an unspoken competition with FIFA as to which organization can be the most corrupt.
Both the summer and winter Olympics get a lot of attention and marketing dollars behind them, but the competition itself always leaves something to be desired. This is not intended to disrespect or make light of the talent and training of the athletes.
Let’s be honest, a Gold Medal does not carry the same cache that it once did. Premier athletes playing in more popular sports are more visible on a regular basis in our digital age. The pedestal Olympic athletes once stood on isn’t nearly as high as it once was. These athletes aren’t as revered anymore.
It also makes it difficult for the fans to truly buy in when each stone that gets overturned reveals more corruption than we had previously thought existed.
Track and Field. Doping. Cycling. Doping and motorized bikes now. Which originally blew my mind. Swimming has dealt with their fare share of allegations as well.
I am a true sports fan. I watch just about anything in the competitive realm of sports with a fairly expansive understanding of the game, players, and overall strategy. This does not apply to the Olympics however. More times than not, the Olympics ends up being on TV as background noise in many households.
Granted, if you are a fan of track and field, swimming, skiing, etc. You will have a bit more passion about the respective sports and have more interest in scheduled viewing.
There was a photographer that traveled around from China, Russia, and Brazil (for the World Cup) and took pictures of elaborate, expensive stadiums that were built for one time use. Now they are left as modern ruins only to share the same fate as the Pontiac Silverdome. It was very interesting to see, but also had an extremely eery ghost town feel to them.
Russia made many headlines with corruption and improperly managed construction schedules while dramatically exceeding original budgets. Brazil has followed suit with similar problems. Hosting the World Cup was supposed to be a warm up for the country to prepare for the Olympics, but the host country is now in even worse shape than it was in 2014.
The Zika Virus has been an epidemic but luckily it has been somewhat controlled to the region. The thought of having people from all over the world coming to the epicenter of where the virus is, only to travel back to their respective home cities sounds like the perfect recipe for Zika to become a global problem.
Brazil is not prepared and they never will be. In a poor country that needs a better allocation of funds for it’s people, it seems grossly irresponsible for them to take on this task as a host city.
In addition to an underwhelming product, the Olympics always provide a creepy mascot that seems to be the result of a three day marathon in an opium den. See for yourself:
All in all, I still like the idea of the Olympics and watching some of the world’s best athletes competing at the highest level, but certain changes need to be made.
Taking it back to the essence of where the (Summer) Olympics originated would be a good place to start. Instead of having a roaming competition that is in a different location every four years, pick one location and keep the competition there. This allows Athens (or whatever site that’s chosen) to build, upgrade facilities and accommodations over time and continue to be used. Not only during events, but also can be repurposed for the time in between.
This would eliminate some of the corruption and bribes that take place for cities vying for to be the host. Other cities won’t be missing out on any financial boom for the Olympics, as it has proven to be more of an economic hinderance if anything.
There are have too many chefs in the kitchen when it comes down to doping committee and who is facilitating tests for different sports. They need to take it back to basics and err on the side of simplicity.
Problems with the Olympics are so rampant and deep rooted that it will not be an overnight fix, but some fundamental changes could have an immediate impact.
Sadly, I feel like this vicious cycle will continue to repeat itself moving forward because of greed and complacency. So, brace yourself for an onslaught of company’s with aggressive marketing campaigns attempting to capitalize on the two week summer stretch. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
I could care less who wins the most medals, I only hope that everything goes smoothly for the people of Brazil and people in attendance without incident.