Welcome to the Olympic edition, folks.
I’ve been enjoying watching the games on TV in the evenings, cheering Canada’s athletes (who are doing a more than respectable job at these games).
Many of the athletes do seem like the embodiment of the Olympic ideals of excellence, friendship and respect.
You know who collectively are not the embodiment of any ideals? The International Olympic Committee.
From their demands to be treated like royalty — why do we have to call a guy who heads a sporting committee, ‘Your Excellency’? — to their constant insistence that the Olympics would never be sullied by something as crass as money, to their continued blind eye to human rights abuses in the countries they award Games, the IOC, in my humble opinion, are a bunch of chumps living vicariously through athletes. And getting very, very rich in the process.
In the distorted view of the IOC, the water in Rio’s harbour is pristine), a press bus was not pelted with bullets, just rocks, and the diving pool is supposed to be green.
All is rosy and fabulous from the lofty heights of the IOC, as they sit in the best seats in the house, applauding medalists and reveling in their victories as if they had something to do with them.
One committee member, Patrick Hickey of Ireland, is not feeling quite so rosy. Hickey was arrested in Rio this past Wednesday for alleged involvement in a ticket scalping scheme.
Now this raises some questions. First of all, why would you need to scalp tickets, when from every vantage point it appears there are plenty of empty seats? Plenty. I was watching Canadian Derek Drouin win the gold in high jump Tuesday night (I know! Yay!), and I swear if it wasn’t for the athletes’ families, there would have been no one in the giant stadium. It was at least 80 per cent empty.
And secondly, why would any IOC member feel the need to make extra cash scalping tickets? Don’t they make enough from bribes?
Meanwhile while his buddy was getting arrested, IOC President Thomas Bach, His Excellency (snerk) blasted Brazilian fans for booing French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie. The “shocking behaviour” was “unacceptable at the Olympics”.
So booing, unacceptable and shocking. Ticket scalping scheme, acceptable and not worthy of comment. Got it , yer excellence.
In any event, watching these IOC princes and princesses gliding around Rio as if they had descended from the celestial palaces in heaven to grace us with their presence for a brief moment — and deny that things are anything but great — is more than a little stomach rolling. These are the same people who didn’t even have the cajones to deny the Russian athletes entrance to the Games after irrefutable proof came to light of a massive state-sponsored doping scheme. We’ll let the individual athletic bodies decide, they decreed, gutlessly passing the buck to lesser mortals.
And while at the games, IOC members — when not being arrested — are being courted by representatives from the four cities vying for the 2024 Games (Tokyo has already secured 2020). Yes, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome and Budapest seem eager to match Rio in losing $4.6 billion on the Games. You know, while losing $4.6 billion is pretty onerous, I don’t think I’d find it as onerous as having to kiss the rings of the pompous poobahs who populate the IOC.
Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin