Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Back to Olympus

Funny how perspectives change over time.  During several years as a sports reporter and many as a sports fan, the Geezer followed Olympic action closely and rooted hard for Americans to win medals.

This time around, Olympic excitement failed to materialize to the extent I recorded the opening ceremonies and attended a Dixieland jazz concert instead of watching the grand beginning “live.” 

The Dixieland concert, presented with enthusiasm by a group of seven locals donating their time, was free. The Olympic extravaganza, featuring a cast of thousands and high-priced tickets, is going to cost a fortune.

Three of the seven Dixie musicians were top-shelf; the others, frankly, were mediocre.  That’s just about the way I assessed the Olympic opening once I got around to watching it. 

Athens in 2016 and Forevermore
Fashioning the burning rings, some of the fireworks displays, and an emotional ending (even though Sir Paul went on a bit long) appealed to me. A fake parachute entrance by the queen, a horribly boring comic, and other strange events unfortunately occupied a little more time than the good stuff.

Negatives aside, I give all the Dixie musicians and all who obviously worked hard to put together an excellent show in London much credit for their efforts.  Dixie musicians by definition are creative. The Olympic show planners showed plenty of artistry as well, and they deserve accolades for that.

If I heard correctly, the announcers said the Olympic Games this time around are expected to cost $15 billion or more.  The observers frequently talked about depressed conditions in London’s East End, where the stadium was built, and how the Olympics would have a positive affect on the area.

I would think for $15 billion just about all East End real estate needing rejuvenation could be reconstructed with broad avenues and marvelous homes and shops of all kinds, perhaps even a couple of light industrial sections. Of course, some of the $15 billion will be recouped. However, the facts are that most recent Olympics have lost huge amounts of money. 

Because it seems impossible now to return the Olympics to the wholesome amateur competition it once represented, why don’t we try something creative to at least stop the economic blood-lettings?  Let’s give the summer Olympics a permanent home in Greece where the whole thing began.  The International Olympic Committee could coordinate financing, and bankers interested in propping up the Euro probably would lend a hand.

Once the virtues of a permanent summer home are demonstrated, we can get to work providing a home in Switzerland, that most neutral of nations, for the winter games. The Swiss aren’t begging for money, but maybe if we strew enough Olympic gold around their landscapes they’ll stop conniving to cheat fellow governments out of tax dollars with devious banking practices.

A return to Greece forever makes sense in several ways.  It’s no secret the Greeks could use a major infusion of cash.  Absent any large amount of natural resources, the nation must rely on tourism to sustain itself. A periodic dose of Olympic frenzy would be a great advertisement of the glories of the ancient land.

The natives probably could dream up some attractive uses for the Olympic facilities in off-years.  Much wonderful history is available to convert into interesting opening ceremonies. It doesn’t seem many people are gunning for the Greeks, so providing excellent security should be relatively inexpensive.

Security looms large in my changed attitude about the Olympics. I really don’t care if the American contingent comes home with a truckload or a handful of medals, or any at all. My fervent hope these days is that the whole Olympic affair crosses the finish line without a single terrorist attack or other act of violence. 


schmidleysscribblins, said...

All I could think about was how much good the money would have done if more wisely spent. I don't know how the East End could still be depressed. The last time I was there it was filled with upscale residences and their newly rich owners. I almost got trampled in the subway. London is fine, the rest of the country needs help I think.

joared said...

Sounds like a doable plan! Have concluded I didn't miss a lot by not viewing the Olympics on TV this year. Your account reinforces that opinion.

I was thinking about the Olympic athletes the other day and what these events have morphed into. The priorities are warped. The pleasure of participating in a sport is somewhat lost. Life has to be dedicated to training almost 24/7.

The one-up-man-ship competitiveness among nations for just staging these events has become ridiculous. There are so many $$$ involved in all sports any more, at all levels whether amateur or professional.

Sightings said...

An interesting proposal. You're one of the few in our crowd of retirees who's touched on the Olympics. I wonder why? But I waded in (with an admittedly less serious perspective) at:

Kay said...

Gosh, Dick... I loved the fake Queen parachuting down to the Opening Ceremonies with James Bond. I didn't much care for Hey Jude though I like Paul McCartney a lot. I agree it seemed to go on too long.

I'm not a sports fan, but I'm sure enjoying watching the Olympics each evening.