The Great Olympic Contradiction
There’s a lot of The Olympics to love. The Olympic values or friendship, respect and excellence are to be applauded, whether the athletes, coaches and judges adhere to them or not.
I do have one problem with it all, though. The Olympics seem to try to instill a sense of “we’re all one”, which is great. The thing is that everyone’s split into national teams, highlighting a major division between 200-odd groups of people.
Steve Redgrave has been complaining about Hamadou Djibo Issaka, the rower from Niger. He was given a pass into The Olympics on the basis that they are trying to grow the sport in regions where they traditionally don’t participate. For me, this is a great thing. The more of the world we can get doing each Olympic sport, the more competitive the field will be for each of them. Steve Redgrave’s gripe, however, is that there are many, many rowers from countries across the world who were denied an opportunity to compete by this system – and they were all better than Hamadou Djibo Issaka.
Two problems can be solved with one solution: Remove national boundaries for The Olympics and allow the competitors to compete for themselves. I’m not saying this should happen and it almost certainly never will, not until we have another planet to compete against anyhow!
People in each country would naturally get behind their local competitors as they always have, but the clear division between different people will not be highlighted in the way that it is now. Some teams in certain sports may become international – it looks like we could do with a few of Germany’s rowers here in ‘GB’.
Personally speaking, I don’t want this to happen, but it’s a point worth debating. There could be 1500 Chinese competitors and none from Madagascar, for example, which would not help the growth of sport, globally.
As the athletes’ Olympic oath states,
In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams
Notice how it’s teams, rather than nations or countries.
An interesting thought, or not? I’m not sure.