The best games ever

a person with collar shirt

This article examines the antics of five athletes to synthesize a grand unified theory of why the Olympics are cactus.

I’m old enough to remember the Sydney 2000 Olympics. It was a special time – just about all Australians were proud to have it and hoped to put on a really good show for the world.

Do you remember Eric the Eel? He had no Olympic-sized pool back in Equatorial Guinea to train in so he almost drowned. The crowd cheered him on wildly and he just made the distance. Unkind people thought we were being racist and/or condescending but far from it – we genuinely admired his spirit. The balls of the guy, to even make the attempt! That is the Olympic spirit.

I have nothing against the concept of the Olympics. The world’s greatest sportsmen gathering every four years to compete in peace and friendship. Going back the Greeks, it was a triumph of human creativity and abstract reasoning to put aside conflict for a couple of weeks, enjoy the show and perhaps imagine a better world.

What killed the Olympics? Various things. Cheating, politics (i.e. banning Russia), IOC corruption, professionalism, corporate sponsorship, cost overruns, white elephant stadiums. No doubt there are more. The Olympic spirit has been dying for decades. Why cheer drugged-up pros who are playing for millions of dollars? Give us the good old days of mustachioed, pot-bellied accountants stopping for a fag and a dram of whisky as they run the 1896 marathon wearing hats and bow ties.

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