Why I no longer care to watch the Olympics

My epiphany about the stupidity of the olympics took 2 full olympiads; 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Calgary.

In the former, the US had a few athletes in the Nordic Combined (ski jump and cross-country). The US entrants were very good in cross-country but just average in ski jump. After the first round of ski jumping, the US held the 1st and 3rd places. Realizing that the strength of the US athletes was yet to come, the “judges” determined that it was unsafe to start the ski jump from that height. Never mind that ALL entrants had already jumped safely. They moved the jump height down a bit, forced everyone to go again, and they were happy with the results because the US was safely out of the top 10, and therefore, out of possible medal contention in a Nordic or Alpine event.

In Calgary in 1988, the women’s figure skating was a sham. East German Katarina Witt was up for her second gold in a row and US skater Debi Thomas was supposed to compete against her. In the prelims, an unknown Japanese skater, Midori Ito, rocked the house with her routines. She hit every part of every routine and was almost in shock when she finished — the crowd went crazy with her performance. She got 5.1s because this was her first olympics and “hadn’t paid her dues.” Witt and Thomas looked like two automatons going through the motions of trying NOT TO LOSE a medal. Then Canada’s own Elizabeth Manley skated her heart out and put both Witt and Thomas to shame. Granted, it was a hometown crowd but she, like Japan’s Ito, couldn’t believe how well she had done and the crowd responded. But…

Witt — Gold
Manley — Silver
Thomas — Bronze.

Should have been…

Manley — Gold
Ito — Silver
Witt or Thomas — Bronze (you pick, both were boring).

The winter olympics were always better in my mind because they were much faster. But now, with Russian and French judges screwing everyone else and the IOC refusing to take away every Russian and French medal, send both countries athletes back home, and ban them from the next two olympics (summer and winter), it’s just become a ho-hum of zero competition when you realize you’re going to lose no matter how well you perform. Kind of like Obama’s fundemental transformation of a once great country.


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