So I am picking up from popular culture that the Olympics are happening now. Some of you may not know that I spent many years of my life dreaming about playing in the Olymics and actually training with an eye towards oventual competition there. I made it to the Pan-American Games (the regional version of the Olympics for countries in North and South America the year before the summer games and run by the Olympic Associations of the various countries.)
I have two articles that talk about my journey towards and then away from the games. Why I’m Skipping the Olympics covers this
Like all other hopefuls, I gave up a great deal to make the Olympic team. I moved away from friends and family, lived well below the poverty line for years and put my education on hold in order to hone my athletic skills. I made these sacrifices because I loved playing water polo and because I wanted to compete with the best.
and Resisting the McOlympics covers some other elements of my critique.
The Olympic Movement sets high aims in its charter. To me, “Respecting the dignity of the human race” does not mean licensing the symbol of Olympic ideals to the world’s leading producers of junk food. I eventually resigned my position on the Canadian Team, in part at least because I couldn’t stomach the idea that my finest performance, made at the peak of my athletic career, would be used by the “supreme authority of the Olympic Movement,” the IOC, in a deeply flawed co-branding venture. Today the universal and permanent symbol of the five rings is co-branded with McDonald’s and Coke.
In 2002 I flew out to Salt Lake City for the Games there and a Conference called Global Justice in the Shadow of the Olympics. A reporter from the Salt Lake weekly covered my appearance there.
In 1999, a journalist found [Kaliya] Youngâ€™s name on a list of athletes who would participate in the Olympics. The reporter asked her what she, as an athlete, thought about the scandal that would eventually put an ugly blemish on the Olympic organizers in Salt Lake City and the International Olympic Committee.
When the reporter sent those questions, Young said she found herself thinking about a lot more than just the Salt Lake scandal. â€œI began to think about the deeper meaning of the Olympics and how I was involved in that larger system,â€ she said. â€œMy competitive performance would not be just a part of a world community gathering to compete in the spirit of fair play, good will and global unity, but rather it would be sold to the highest corporate bidder for their own commercial gain.â€
Reform is needed, she said. But she doesnâ€™t know what that means. Without corporate sponsors, where would the Olympics be? â€œI donâ€™t have the answers. I just think there needs to be some deeper questions asked about the Olympic Games. And, most importantly, those questions need to be answered by a wider range of people. The IOC is unelected, self-appointing and it doesnâ€™t answer to anybody.â€
….she said she still has tremendous respect for the athletes who compete at such an intense level.
â€œI admire the athletes and I donâ€™t think anyone should walk out or abandon the Games. I just had a lot of questions. The answers I found helped lead me to a decision to step out of the Olympic movement. And nothing Iâ€™ve learned since then has done anything but validate that decision,â€ she said.
Today I am quite distressed to hear that the olympics have made it a rule that Olympians can not blog HELLO have you heard of freedom of speech.