Big congratulations to all of the seven medal winners and all the Indian contingent which took half within the not too long ago concluded Olympics. Your years of laborious work, self-discipline and dedication are an inspiration for all the nation. As a disclaimer, nothing in the remainder of this text is in regards to the athletes themselves, who make their nation proud. The aim of this text is to easily spotlight the darkish features of the Olympics itself.
As a baby I liked the Olympics. I noticed it as the final word international sports activities competitors. To win right here meant your nation was the very best on this planet. I’m not a baby anymore, and I’m now effectively conscious of the darkish aspect to the video games the world loves to observe…
1. Opaque IOC: The Olympics will not be an intergovernmental collaboration. The video games are organised by a personal entity referred to as the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC and its numerous nationwide associates are opaque. Nationwide anthems are performed, however this personal entity conducts and makes income from the occasion. The income over a four-year interval is round $5 billion. The athletes might effectively get status, medals and fame however not a major share of this income. That’s why many Olympians find yourself doing humble jobs a number of years later.
2. Host metropolis monetary losses: Whereas the IOC is money wealthy, almost each metropolis that has hosted Olympics previously few a long time misplaced cash. Athens 2004 pushed Greece into an financial disaster, which continues till as we speak. In Rio, stadiums made for the Olympics lie in neglect and smash. Tokyo will lose billions. There’s additionally an enormous lasting detrimental environmental impression from the Olympics. All this for an occasion that simply lasts a number of weeks and in the end enriches the IOC.
3. Arm-twisting by influential nations: The newest and blatant instance is Russia, the place a state-sponsored doping scandal was found. The IOC technically banned Russia however allowed its athletes to compete underneath an ROC flag. Is that this truthful for others?
4. Participant abuse: Points related to excessive aggressive sport got here to the forefront in Tokyo when prime US gymnast Simone Biles withdrew mid-event citing psychological well being points. Tales are rife from many countries about little kids pushed laborious for years to win a medal. A report by Human Rights Watch highlighted excessive verbal and bodily abuse of lots of of younger Japanese gamers being educated for the Olympics.
As we in India too try for extra medals, we needs to be cautious to not grow to be a baby abuse manufacturing unit. The coaching routine and strain in sure sports activities comparable to gymnastics is so grueling that we wouldn’t enable animals to be handled that manner. You could argue that animals can’t consent however do you suppose a 13-year-old can? To be coaching for six hours a day for years and being yelled at? To face excessive strain, threat career-ending accidents and big rejection after years of labor? All this for what? So the IOC can get richer, viewers get some entertaining cartwheels to observe and we will really feel proud in Olympic week? How can we outline the boundary of what’s true coaching for a sport, and what may be an excessive amount of for a younger baby? We have to be particularly cautious about over competitiveness in India. We already push our college students too laborious. A 100% cutoff in Delhi College is an instance of how competitors turns into madness. I hope we don’t get that very same madness into sports activities. All for a medal from a privately managed entity conducting sporting competitions for revenue-earning content material?
5. Peak efficiency vs massive image: Medals are nice, however not a real image of athletic and health skill in a rustic. The US has gained essentially the most Olympic medals nevertheless it is likely one of the most overweight nations on this planet. What’s extra vital? A couple of tremendous match athletes, or a fairly match whole nation? The place would you deploy your restricted sports activities funds?
6. Wealthy nation bias: Olympic medals as we speak require coaching with large assets. That explains the big correlation between high-income nations and medals. What is that this competitors then? Is it an equal alternative sport? Is it for enjoyable? Or a measure of who has extra money to coach its athletes?
The nationwide anthem being performed within the worldwide area is emotional and significant for us. It fulfills our aspiration to be a profitable nation on the worldwide stage. The IOC exploits this emotion. This, coupled with world-class athletes which might be enjoyable and entertaining to observe, permits them to create content material referred to as the Olympics. It additionally permits them to get away with their darkish aspect.
Do watch and have fun the Olympics. They aren’t evil. But additionally realise that they’ve actual points. And they’re actually no place to search for nationwide validation.
Congrats to the winners, as soon as once more!
Views expressed above are the writer’s personal.
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