Friday, August 8, 2008

Win Me an Olympic Medal, and I'll Pay You

8.8.08 The Olympics start today. Go USA!

My favorites to watch are beach volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, diving, indoor volleyball, synchronized swimming, basketball and the rarely broadcasted, rhythmic gymnastics.

Watching the opening ceremony, it sort of makes me feel bad that America is so good at everything. What athlete wouldn't want to train with the best coaches and resources in a country where the standard of living is probably 10 times better than their home country? It's almost unfair. Some small and poor countries march in with one lone person on their Olympic team, and you know they have no chance competing against giants like the USA, Russia, Canada, and China.

The NBC broadcasters were saying that some nations pay athletes from third world countries to compete on their behalf. In some cases, countries offer $20,000 for a medal win. That seems to go against the spirit of the Olympics to bring the nations of the world together for celebration and fair competition. I get the sinking feeling that "buying" athletes tiptoes toward a vague and undefined ethical boundary.


  1. so what sport don't you want to watch? didn't you cover them all that you wanted to watch? i didn't watch the opening and believe it or not, i don't think that i ever watched the opening of any Olympics. i know the torch is carried around.

  2. I was surprised to hear that some countries offer monetary rewards for bringing back a medal as well, and I thought that it was rather cruel of the leaders to do so because they make such statements knowing the athletes cannot do so. So they make such offers flippantly because they know, "hey, it's not going to happen" but they make offers like this to make themselves look altruistic.

  3. em: I did not list sports such as running, cycling, rowing, baseball, ping pong, long jump, other track and field events, or fencing. There are many that I am apathetic toward watching during the olympic season.

    aemelia: Yeah, it's all about the results, and nothing about the effort. That is largely the problem with it. After training for four years, what if you get hurt? or only get 4th place? You get nothing. However, the reasoning behind the money deal is that the athletes might not work hard enough when the time for the games comes around without the singular pressure to win. They want to avoid sponges--using up resources for training and then not coming home with anything to show for it. I think it makes the countries look anything but altruistic, just as you indicated.