Okay, I’m gonna start this by saying that this is just my ill-considered opinion, nothing more. I dont use this blog as a soap box that much (well, in a form like this anyway), but with all the discussion about Russia and the Winter Games and everything else… I’ll weigh in.
Today the IOC (and, if I read correctly, the USOC as well) told gay athletes to butch it up and “respect Russia’s laws” regarding homosexuality.
We all know how well that kind of appeasement worked for a certain other Games back in the 1930s, where “respect” for Germany’s laws regarding Jews simply gave Der Feuhrer the presumptive right afterwards to continue his barbaric ethnic cleansing. And somehow I guess we’re to think that the same thing wont happen after these, because, after all, we learn ever so much from the lessons of history, right?
Well, to be honest, today’s comments from the IOC dont surprise me one whit. We’re talking about a bunch that tossed out wrestling as an Olympic sport in favour of (are you ready?) golf.
No offence to those who play the game, but are you freaking kidding me? Of course, we all know why tha decision was made: sponsorship money. Wrestling sells mats and singlets. Golf sells an entire lifestyle, at far higher prices. Tell me, is anyone truly surprised by such a self-serving decision?
And of course in that light, why should we be surprised by a bunch who first say that Russia’s attiude adjustment was just “a problem of translation”, then follows it up with “Play nice, or we’ll kick you out of the Games ourselves.” It should surprise no one that all this really comes down to is money. Not the athletics. Not the athletes. The sponsorship bucks, the ticket sales, the TV rights… all of those take precedence in a grand and majestic way over any concept of sportsmanship or athleticism. Let’s ignore that the NBA’s entry into the Summer Games was based totally on how much money it would bring to the table and nothing more. Let’s ignore that the athletes who participate do so on minimal (and sometimes non-existant) stipends while the IOC itself has no problem with five star hotels and first class airfare. Let’s ignore that the “uniforms” for women’s beach volleyball are laughable pieces of pandering (and if they’re not, please explain why the guys dont play while wearing Speedos, if you can). And, by all means, let’s ignore, if we can, the fact that sixty percent of the budget allocated to the Sochi Olympics, which was budgeted at fifty billion dollars, has “gone missing”. Thirty billion dollars, folks… all magically disappeared in the process of building the venues and prepping the infrastructure for this.
Now remember: by contrast China’s Summer Games had an overall budget of about 15 billion, and it was the most outrageously expensive Games of the modern era.
So now we have the IOC kowtowing to a bunch that has ripped off their own Olympics to the tune of thirty billion — and if this doesnt tell you that this has everything to do with money, you must be living a singularly sheltered life. It has nothing to do with gay people in Russia. Putin’s sudden “insight” into gays and lesbians is nothing more than a canard to cover theft and mismanagement permeating every facet of the Sochi Games.
And that’s the harsh reality of it all.
And I see no reason to think Rio will be any different, sorry. It’s highly unlikely the IOC will see the error of its ways, not when cash is involved. After London and Sochi, with the Games returning to this hemisphere, you can anticipate the TV rights in Rio going for an even more outrageous amount, with the per-minute ad rates as high as the Superbowl. And who does this benefit? Not the athletes. They’re just show ponies. Nope, this goes straight into the pockets of the IOC and its “friends”.
And anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.
So… what to do, what to do… Well, here’s my suggestion, for what it may be worth to the handful of folk who visit here:
We should invite every Olympic athlete to the next Gay Games.
Screw the boycotts. Russia doesnt care if you stop drinking vodka. Coca-Cola and McDonalds will barely feel a twinge. But take away the show ponies that participate, and the IOC has nothing. That, my friends, is making them hurt where it means the most.
Now, you’re probably saying, “Oh right, Sean. Who’s gonna give up a shot at the Olympics for this?” Well, considering 95+% of Olympians do not get post-Games sponsorships of any kind, tell me what they’re giving up. If a swimmer breaks a world record, that achievement stands in the record book, as we found with the Third Gay Games in Vancouver. And the participating athletes will find an audience that is genuinely appreciative of their skill, not what they do to fatten someone’s wallet. And think of the sudden rush of sponsorship from all the companies that got shut out from the Bg Boy Games. The next Gay Games would be…. beyond fabulous.
I realize this is the kind of suggestion that will see sniggers and eyerolls. So be it. But if you want to teach the IOC a lesson, pouring bottled water into the gutter isnt going to make for a very effective one. Truly, let us just imagine for a moment:
What if they gave an Olympics and no one came?