It’s been a long time since I’ve written–a long time since I’ve found any inspiration to write about my beloved Olympics. Perhaps today’s entry isn’t due to any inspiration, but rather to take a moment and open my heart, laying out some of my feelings with which I’m conflicted.
A few months ago I was dismayed to learn that a record number of cities had withdrawn their bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Out of the original six cities which bid, only two remain: Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Lviv (Ukraine), Krakow (Poland), Oslo (Norway), and Stockholm (Sweden) have all withdrawn their bids. Didn’t we just have an Olympics in China some eight years ago? Kazakhstan? Really? Never have I seen the selection of an Olympic host city be whittled down by the candidate cities themselves, bailing one by one, leaving the least popular cities as the only two available choices. It’s already difficult to be excited about a 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. I’m already frustrated in learning that new medal events will debut at these games: mixed doubles curling, mass start long track speed skating, snowboard big air, and an Alpine skiing team event. How much bigger of a circus can these games become?
Let’s see, then there was the report of dead fish filling the harbors near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (host of next year’s Summer Olympics), protests by Brazilians over slum evictions, the growing safety concerns for tourists arriving next year, and yes, the reminder that golf will debut in 2016 as a medal sport. Yeah, it’s difficult to rally around the excitement which will soon begin building for these next Olympic Games.
Now I’ve learned that in the last few days one of 2012’s great heroes (and a favorite of mine from London) is under investigation for performance enhancing drugs. Who can forget the gold medal finish by Mo Farah three years ago? It brought tears to my eyes as he and two other compatriots won gold for the United Kingdom in track and field events. Now there is suggestion that his win was not earned honestly. Farah is one of many athletes who continue to fall under scrutiny for alleged cheating. Some will be cleared of any wrongdoing; others will not, and their Olympic glory will be forever tarnished. I thought we were past the decade of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs? Apparently not. Farah denies all accusations. I hope his denials are truthful. Say it ain’t so, Mo!
Sochi’s 2014 Olympics will probably go down in history as one of the most boring and lackluster games of the 21st Century. The IOC continues to add sports left and right, diluting the value and uniqueness of an Olympic Games and its medals. In addition, the cost of hosting is leading to potentially great hosts declining or withdrawing from the opportunity to host. And athletes like Sanya Richards-Ross are demanding compensation in addition to their medals, claiming training costs are too expensive and that IOC members pocket too much money–money that should be given to athletes.
I’m not sure what direction this blog will take from here on. Imagine how heartbreaking it is for this fanatic to feel so conflicted about the one thing she has loved and revered her entire life!
Say it ain’t so!
Swifter, Higher, Stronger.