The Olympics I don’t watch

Although I have a  TV, with lots of channels including sports channels , I don’t watch the 2014 winter olympics in Sochi .

Some of my reasons:

  1. I cannot see the athletes I know and I see a lot of coverage to no interest to me
  2. So I lost interest in winter games some time ago, especially as I come from a country with little winter.
  3. The blatant, competitive nationalism it embodies is repulsive to me. Especially because it is not my countries’ nationalism.
  4. The wasteful spending irritates me. The money flows baffle me.
  5. I find the presence of presidents who don’t respect the basic human values abhorrent, and they get airtime before, during and between events as if they had legitimacy
  6. The choices being made on the Olympic games prove that sport is not foremost on their mind.
  7. I did not start yet on the moral reasons why I should not look.

Some additional information on the points

  1. The Olympic Committee is soaked in Stupendous wealth because they sell exclusive broadcasting rights to national broadcasters. In this country, only the national rights holder will have the right to broadcast on internet, cable and air. This means also that they show only the sports and series that are of national interest. As I lived in a number of small countries all over the world, and I am now in another small country, the chances are slim that I see anybody I know. The broadcasting does not incite to internationalism, to the contrary, it narrows the view of the public to only its own athletes, while pretending they look at the “Olympic Games” as they are. As an American you can live with it (most events have Americans).
  2. So every four years, my interest waned a bit more, until it arrived on the current level.
  3. The Olympic games don’t preach a “this land is your land” nationalism. The Olympics, the setup, the presidents and politicians attending, even the publicity, all preach an exclusive, competitive nationalism. An approach of  “us against them”.  It is what researchers call an imagined community. There is nothing that really binds you with those athletes. You don’t know them personally. You don’t know whether they merit to win. You don’t know the story of their competitors. Why, you are probably not even from the same city, so you don’t have a real link with the places where this athlete lives. It is the sort of romanticising of imagined common identities that brought us some very dark moments in our history. Why don’t we compete on other aspects of our identity? Height? Blood group? first letter of our last name?
  4. The wasteful spending irritates me. The main cost of the Olympics falls on countries who are tricked to think it is important (nationalism, investment for future? who knows) to build an oversized infrastructure for sports nearly nobody plays. This is not at all innocent. The economical estimations are questionable. They are also rather financial estimations (looking at cost and benefit) , than economical  (what alternative investments could be made?).
  5. Apart from the athletes, there are also VIPs. Presidents, prime ministers, kings, princes. Apart from the problems with nationalism, I notice some unsavoury figures, who are known for doing “bad” things.  These people distract me from the sports. Did we not create an international criminal court? What baffles me even more is that these people are presented on the same level as the elected leaders of democratic countries that respect human rights. Does this mean that our leaders feel they belong to the same group as these other people? Or do our leaders just bestow legitimacy on them? If you live under one of those thugs, seeing this will make you doubt your future.
  6. In “The Dictator’s’ Handbook” they use the Olympic Committee as an example of an institution gone awry. The way the institution selects its members and leaders, you cannot expect clean governance.  This was so before Sochi. Sochi just brought it to a new level.
  7. This brings us to the moral reasons. These have been quite well covered: according to the Olympic Committee the universal values are subservient to having a spectacular sporting event. Olympics can support leaders, but other leaders should not use the event to criticise, Homosexuality, Chechnya, Pussy Riot, etc.

Any more reasons?


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