I hate the Olympics

I hate the Olympics.

I love watching American men’s team sports (baseball, basketball and college football). I closely follow these sports all the time, and have a rooting interest in those teams and a working knowledge of their participants. Then for two weeks every 4 years I am supposed to care about and have a rooting interest in people I’ve never heard of before, playing team and individual sports with which I may or may not be familiar with, but which I have no interest in at any other time. I hate the whole thing.

I don’t care about gymnastics, or team handball, or luge, or volleyball, or softball, or swimming (synchronized or otherwise), or Greco-Roman wrestling, or weightlifting, or either track or field. If these sports were really popular spectator sports, then they would be on tv more than once every 4 years, and people would pay to watch them at times and in events other than the Olympics. Just because they slap the Olympic brand name on them I’m supposed to shift my attention from baseball and from college football? (Although I will confess that I used to enjoy watching women’s figure skating, for all the wrong reasons, until the athletes got so young that watching them made me feel like a pervert.)

I don’t like the nationalism of the Olympics. I’m supposed to root for some kids just because their uniform shirts say “USA” on them? I don’t know these kids, I had no say in selecting them, or in selecting the people that selected them, so why should I care about them? The kids say they’re proud to represent their country. That’s nice, but they don’t represent me at all, so they can all go jump in the lake as I’m concerned. As far as I can tell what they’re really interested in making a name for themselves so they can land a highly paid commercial endorsement, like Mary Lou Retton and Bruce Jenner did before them, and so they wrap themselves in the flag only until they can make themselves famous enough to cash in. Spare me.

And yes, I know about the 1980 American hockey team, and yes, I thought that was great fun and a great victory. I also know about how Jessie Owens’ gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics showed up and embarrassed Adolf Hitler. Nevertheless, two great moments in 100 years of Olympic competition don’t justify the entire bloated Olympic event to me.

I don’t like the pretension of the Olympics. Juan Antonio Samarach, the most high exalted pooh-bah of the International Olympic Committee, is just a rich guy on the take as far as I can tell. The Olympic opening and closing ceremonies are as big a waste of time and money as the Super Bowl halftime show, without the restraint. I remember hearing one athlete being interviewed at the last winter Olympics say he wasn’t going to participate in the opening ceremonies, because the Olympics were a “once in a lifetime event”, and the last time he’d been in the Olympics participating in the opening ceremonies tired him out too much. Apparently he didn’t understand the phrase “once in a lifetime event” either.

I hate the attacks on the superiority of the American basketball “dream team.” The NBA players are the best in the world, aren’t they? And if the Olympics are really for the best athletes, shouldn’t they be there, even if they do beat everybody by 30 points? If the USA had a sprinter who could run the 100 meter dash in 2 seconds, and thereby similarly blow the rest of the competitors out of the water, wouldn’t he be allowed to race, or would that be unfair to the rest of the world? The American pro basketball players are just that much better than the rest of the world’s, and it is up to the rest of the world to get up to their standard, not to ban them from Olympic competition or to gripe about them running up the score.

I hate the “up close and personal” style of TV reporting the Olympics generate. Rather than actually show the events, the tv networks show endless “profiles” of the “elite athletes”, every one of whom seems to have “beaten tremendous odds” and “shown great courage.” Give me a break. These “elite athletes” ought to get jobs and find out how tough life really is. Are we peasants just supposed to bask in the glow of their sob stories, hand over our money and take joy in watching them perform? Olympic TV coverage is sports coverage directed at people who don’t usually watch spectator sports, which to me is as silly as grilling steaks for vegitarians.

I willing pay money to watch American professional sports and college football and basketbal because I find those events entertaining. I don’t find the Olympic events, or the life stories of the athletes, even remotely entertaining. If I want to watch sob stories I can watch the Lifetime cable network. The Olympics haven’t even started yet and I’m tired of them already. Please wake me when the Olympics are over.

In that first sentence, replace “USA” with “Braves” or “Lakers” or “Kentucky” and tell me how that is any different.

So don’t watch! But I think the athletes are to be admired for their personal dedication. For them I think it is an honor to compete for their country as well as for glory. They really don’t need your approval.

Steriods aside, I think athletic achievement and the training of mind and body are a good thing considering our overweight, out of shape country rife with poor eating habits.

But since the gymnast starved herself to death (Kristi someone?) I take a very dim view of that sport.

I like sports better when money is not the primary motivation. I find the Olympics much more interesting than the NBA.

So you do know and select the members of the pro teams you like???

and this is different from pro and college sports? HA!

The difference is that the people wearing the “Braves”, “Lakers” and “Kentucky” shirts are playing TEAM sports, unlike most Olympic events, which are mainly individual sports rather than team sports. Individual events, like foot races, boxing, gymnastics, and swimming races, are dressed up as team events for the Olympics because otherwise no one would watch them. Playing on a team is nessesary for the Braves, Lakers and Kentucy. It isn’t for most Olympic events.

The difference is that at least the pros (and more and more college players) are honest about it. They are in it for money, which is fine. I do my job for money too, and I suspect you do as well. The idea that amateur sports are more “pure” is outdated and silly. That idea was first put forth by the rich, who didn’t want to have to associate with the poor while participating in sports. I recommend you read Rick Telander’s book, “The Hundred Yard Lie”, as he does a much better job of destroying the supposed rationale for amaturism than I can do here.

Yes, most of these “sports” are ridiculous, and boring to boot!
Why can’t we have Olympic sports thst real people like? Take bowling-one of the most popular sports in America-yet it’s not in the Olympics-instead, we get to watch idiotic activities like “ribbon dancing” or “luge”.
I really think they should have a “blue collar” olympics-featuring demolition derbies, (American) football, and hot-dog eating contests!
I really don’t like the ARROGANT ELITISM of the IOC-they are all a bunch of rich snobs, who play the taxpayesr of the world for fools (“host my Olympics, pay billions for facilities, and lose your shirt”).
Look at Monteal-they are still paying for their olympics!

Well, some of the Olympic sports are alright to watch, like women’s beach volleyball and women’s figure skating… :smiley:

I hate the “up close and personal” style of TV reporting the Olympics generate. Rather than actually show the events, the tv networks show endless “profiles” of the “elite athletes”, every one of whom seems to have “beaten tremendous odds” and “shown great courage.” Give me a break. These “elite athletes” ought to get jobs and find out how tough life really is. Are we peasants just supposed to bask in the glow of their sob stories, hand over our money and take joy in watching them perform? Olympic TV coverage is sports coverage directed at people who don’t usually watch spectator sports, which to me is as silly as grilling steaks for vegitarians.

This is my complaint. I wouldn’t mind watching some of these obscure sports if I would see the actual competition, and learn something about the sport itself. But instead it is just People magazine. Moreover, as you said, People magazine about folk you have never heard of before and will never hear of again.

What percentage of the time do they spend on marquee events like gymnastics and figure skating? Or tennis and b-ball with name participants. Add in swimming and diving and track and field, and that is about it for the coverage, especially in prime time. I’d rather see those nuts that labor in obscurity - the biathlon, team handball, luge, fencing, and the like. There have to be around 150 different sports. I would be interested in seeing the percentage of airtime, primetime or other, given to each sport. Anyone aware of a link for this info for past telecasts? Wouldn’t it be great if you made it to the Olympics, and your entire sport got blacked out of the media coverage?

I read that 100% of the coverage this year is going to be tape delay, even when not required, because the viewing public is more interested in being entertained by a packaged show, than viewing spontaineous, ongoing competition. Gag! But somehow not surprising.

Actually, they do have a tough life. Do you get up at five am to work out with a coach who continually berates and belittles you? Are you on a diet that you’re not allowed to stray from? Do you pull muscles and get shin splints on a regular basis? Do you spend years doing this, knowing that you might end up with nothing to show for it after all?

On behalf of all of us Straight Dopers who have competed in the Olympic Games, the medal-winners and non-medal-winners alike [losers!], I’d just like to say “thank you” to Rilchiam for those kind words.

Uke, when were you in the Olympics?

Also, if you’d actually watch the Olympics, you’d constantly be swamped with continual stories about the hardships that many of these people overcame in life before going on to the Olympics. Yeah, the I hate the way these stories are presented, but somehow I doubt that a Senegalese shot-put thrower, for example, is going to be terribly impressed with the hardships encountered by middle-class Americans.

Most of these people are there because they love their sport, and they have worked very hard to compete against the best in the world. This is what makes the Olympics special. The ones who get multimillion dollar endorsements and their pictures on a Wheaties box are by far the exception, not the rule. Most of them probably have to go back to work shortly after the Olympics are over, unlike American professional athletes.

What I hate about the Olympics is the rampant nationalism and commercialization. Hopefully the Aussies don’t have as much of a penchant for making everything look like an advertisement as we Americans do.

Also, no one ever said that you were supposed to like the Olympics. But many of us are excited at the prospect of seeing great athletes from all over the world compete against each other, as individuals, solely for the glory of being the best in the world. I’ve always thought the team sports were a bit out of place in the Olympics.

I like the Olympics. But I hate the coverage it gets in this country! :mad:

Maybe I have selective memory, but it seems that when ABC covered the Olympics, the coverage was actually good. I too, hate the “human interest” stories the current broadcaster shows. I heard that biathalon is one of the most popular Olympic sports to watch all over the world. But do they show it here? The one place on Earth where personal firearms ownership is guaranteed in the Constitution?

And what’s the deal with time-shifting? Do we on the Left Coast not deserve to see the events live? Why must I hear the results on the radio before they’re ever broadcast out here? And when they are broadcast, they cut out the “boring” middle part. They show the beginning and the end. No competition, just the results. Hell, I could read that in the next day’s paper!

This is how I’d improve Olympics coverage:

  1. Show them live. Have a re-broadcast during Prime Time for those who can’t or won’t watch them live.

  2. Show a better variety of sports, not just the ones that Blue Collar Joe understands.

  3. Show more sports. Cut the personal portraits. Don’t cut the middle out of the game, unless it’s to show a really exciting part of another event that is going on at the same time.

I know that gymnastics and dancing are tough work; and while I wouldn’t cut them from the program, I think that any even that relies on a subjective scoring method is not really a sport.

The advertisers and networks will probably disagree with me, but aren’t the Olympics more about who is participating rather than who is watching? What I mean by that is these athletes don’t really care if you watch them compete. They would still try to break world records and be the fastest, etc. whether you are watching them or not.

I think the athletes understand that without the sponsors, most of them wouldn’t be there. Were it not for commercial and government sponsors, as well as “the folks back home”, the Olympics would not be for the very best athletes; they would be for the very best rich athletes.

Awww! :::blushes:::

What was your event? (You don’t have to give the year.)

Dumbass. The whole point of the Olympics is to show everyone else that the USA kicks ass without killing very many people.

Except in baseball, where the Cuban national team, without their defectors, can whip Yankee butt almost everytime.

I think it was Oriole, not Yankee butt, that the Cuban team kicked. Not that this is any major accomplishment to beat the Orioles the past few years.

My pet hate from the last Olympics was the way microphones were shoved in athlete’s faces right after they had crossed the finish line. I find it extremely annoying to watch someone desperately trying to get their breath back AND attempt to answer an inane interviewer’s question on the bleeding obvious…:mad: