October 2009

Olympic Smackdown

by Bill O'Connell on October 2, 2009

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The Obama international charm offensive seems to be wearing thin.  As the first U.S. President to ever lobby to win an Olympic Games, President Obama failed in his effort as Chicago was eliminated in the first round.  The Olympic ideal was to divorce sports and politics and by doing so, promote peace by having athletes from around the world meet on a one-to-one basis and see each other as individuals rather than as the countries they represented.

Although Hitler used the 1936 Olympic Games to showcase the revitalized Germany, it was Jimmy Carter who was the first to directly use the Games for political purposes when he pulled the U.S. team from competing in Moscow in 1980, to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  There’s nothing like punishing your own young athletes who perhaps worked a lifetime for the opportunity to compete in an Olympic Games and perhaps never get another chance.  The Soviet’s returned the favor four years later by boycotting the Games in Los Angeles in 1984.

Let’s go back to the ideal of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who help found the modern Olympic Games:

May joy and good fellowship reign, and in this manner, may the Olympic Torch pursue its way through ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of a humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and more pure.

So let’s leave the Olympic Games to the athletes and perhaps now, President Obama can get back to work.

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