Sunday, August 21, 2016

Final thoughts on the Olympics

First, baseball and softball in the Olympics?  The only reason I have ever liked those sports in the Olympics is because the US is good at them and it means more medals. 

This Olympics we had almost twice the number of medals as the next country!  So, no, let's not add baseball and softball back in.  I mean, why not just put American football in the Olympics?

One of the reasons that sports are not added to (or are removed from) the Olympics is because too few countries play them.  The US, in this Olympics, won medals in 25 of the 39 sports contested.   That seems about right to me and maybe a tad high.  So, now, we don't need any other sports added that will up our medal count.     

And what about going back to an all-amateur Olympics?  So it won't be the best players in the world at their sports.   It will be the best players who don't make a living playing that sport. 

Look, over 100 countries participated in the Olympics that didn't win a single medal.   Doesn't that seem a bit odd when the US won 121?  It is just more of the haves and have-nots.  Can't we find a way to level the playing field a little bit.

So, while we revel in the success of the good old USA in the Olympics, let's consider measures that open up the field instead of closing it up.   This is not the Olympics of the US amateur hockey players playing against the veteran Russian team that was, for all practical purposes, a professional team.     If it looks reasonable to do, let's think of going back to amateur-only participation.  The only reason I can see not doing that is that maybe there are still a few countries (China? Cuba?) that have state-run programs whose athletes are banned from playing professionally somewhere due to ideological reasons.   However, if that is not true and everyone has and chooses to use the opportunity to play professionally, maybe this should be amateur hour...once again

BTW, except for a wrestler here, a soccer team there and a track relay team that misfired...again,  this was about the most perfect summer Olympics I can ever remember the US having.   The people who were supposed to set records for medals did.   The teams that were supposed to win, for the most part, won.    And there seemed to be many more people the US didn't think were going to get medals who did compared to those who we thought would get medals who failed..some of them old guys like me!   

So, great job USOC and all the NGBs out there.   And thanks to the US athletes who, to almost the last one, showed that ANY kind of medal was a great accomplishment.   That was a refreshing change from past Olympics where, if we didn't win, it was considered a tragedy.  And thanks to all those who showed that the Olympic spirit was not just about medals.  

See you all in 4 years!

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