October 20, 2000 (Ira Pilgrim)

The Olympics

2004, Athens, Greece: Swimmer Argo Schmedlap of Lower Slobovia won the 50 meter freestyle with a record time of 46.52 seconds. He attained this remarkable speed by having had his penis amputated to reduce drag.

I think that athletics is great fun for children and adolescents. It is also a pleasant and healthful recreation for adults. I enjoyed it in high school and my children have done the same. I should have continued with it. All of us would be much healthier if we played instead of watched sports.

What I am going to say now might cause the government to revoke my citizenship and have many of my acquaintances shun me, but I can take it. I think that professional sports is ridiculous and the Olympic games are even more so. To lionize someone who has spent his entire youth trying to shave a fraction of a second off of the time that it takes to run or swim a particular distance is just plain silly. The hype attendant to the spectacle is ridiculous. What's more, watching a swimming race or a foot race is as boring a thing as I can think of, unless your own kid happens to be a participant. There is little difference between watching a high school swimming competition and an Olympic race. The only difference is that they tell you that the Olympians are much faster. So why watch? Could it be an excuse to sit in a bar and get drunk, or to sit in your living room and turn your mind off?

Even more ridiculous is the fact that many athletes use powerful drugs to enhance their performance. Woman have been given male sex hormone to increase muscle strength, often with disastrous consequences for the athlete. Men are given hormones to enhance muscle strength.

In some countries small children are trained for the Olympics in much the same way as a computer is programmed, except that they are, or used to be, human beings with feelings. The occasional star who makes it gets rich and is acclaimed, while the majority go down the tube. It is a ruthless enterprise arranged and run by ruthless people. They will tell you that it is for the kid's good. Which kid? What happens to the ones who do not attain star status? We are not told. The trainers are not their parents and have little interest in the kid unless it happens to be star material. This is not the same as Tiger Woods' father or the Williams(tennis) sister's father. Those fathers have the welfare of their kids at heart. Not so the professional trainers whose main interest is producing champions and making money.

It seems that the principle objective is to attract an audience and make money; lots of money. I am reminded of "Le Petomane," a French stage performer who attracted audiences in Paris and achieved fame by farting tunes. When giving a concert, he would have two assistants who would hold a cloth in front of his behind, to hide it from view and he would proceed to drop his trousers and fart tunes. Of course it was faked and the sounds came from the performer's mouth, not his colon. How do I know that it was faked? It had to have been faked, because the intestinal bacteria are only capable of producing enough gas for a short burst. To produce sustained tones and a tune requires replenishing the air(gas) supply every few seconds.

The Olympic industry is a world disgrace, engineered for the profit of those who promote it. If the truth were told, it would probably turn out that the Olympics is as corrupt an endeavor as there is. The same could probably be said for professional sports and big-time college sports.

What make the whole enterprise possible is that many members of the public buy into it enthusiastically. They are eager to spend money on the spectacle and all of the gadgetry that goes with it. We have raise a whole generation of fans, which is what keeps the whole thing going. As with most enterprises, it is love of money that drives it.

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