XX Winter Olympic Games

So tonight is the Opening Ceremonies for this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.

The games haven’t even started yet, and already there is a doping controversy, with the news that 12 cross-country skiers have been temporarily suspended for abnormally high hemoglobin and/or hematocrit numbers.

Of course, these are not proof of doping, but are health sanctions, “to protect the health of the athlete.” One can assume that full EPO tests will be forthcoming.

I’ve gotten to the point where I just really don’t care if an athlete dopes anymore. Not in cycling, not in skiing, not anywhere.

Sure, I’d like to think that people are competing clean, but the fact of the matter is that for me, cycling and skiing are participant sports. From a spectator perspective, they’re entertainment.

I don’t care if the muscians I listen to are clean. I don’t care if my favorite actors are clean. So what does it matter if the athletes are clean?

Oh yeah … just because I want to ruin the surprise for anyone waiting to watch the Opening Ceremony on NBC later this evening, the torch was lit by Stefania Belmondo, who won Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals at the 2002 Olympics right here in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Yee-frickin’-haw!

One Comment

  1. I think I agree with your comment.

    “I don’t care if the muscians I listen to are clean. I don’t care if my favorite actors are clean. So what does it matter if the athletes are clean?”

    But I can’t help but think there is something terribly wrong with it too. If Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh were absinthe addicts, and Beethoven and Hemingway were alcoholics, I think I can accept that their art was part of the drama of the tortured mind and spirit. But I’m not sure I want our atheletes to be tortured artists.

    I want them to represent something I am not: pure in body, utterly focused on a single goal, and I want that beautiful accomplishment to be the result of purity, hard work, and maybe a little genetic predisposition.

    But I also want professional athletes to be excluded from the Olympics. I want the Olympics to be grass-roots, commerical only in televised coverage. I want the winners to either accept commercial sponsorship, or eschew it for another chance at a gold in another four years.

    I want the physical purity of their skill and art to be a little naïve. Have you heard Yao Ming’s story? Every Olympic hopeful should have a story like his. They’re children, not rockstars. They’re the best of human potential, not chemical science.

    Maybe we should have the Pro-Olympics—where you can take as many performance enhancing drugs as you want. Push doping to its limit. How far, how high, how long, how fast can you push until your heart explodes, your brain fries, and your eyeballs fall out of your head?

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