Olympic Fever! [BCM 111]

More than an old flame: Reading One

Firstly, I must state that I am very ‘pro Olympics’, so walking into a guest lecturer (Mr. Brian Martin) who has written multiple published pieces of work, one including “Ten reasons to oppose all Olympic Games” I was bound to be put offside from the start. Without trying to sound too harsh, from the one hour of information that Mr. Martin dished out to us, he came off as the nerdy kid that was picked last in P.E and is opposed to all competitive competition. I will start with my recap on the lecture.

My main concern was with what Mr. Martin was saying is that for every negative slice of information he offered nothing positive about the Olympic Games. It came off as extremely derogatory and very one sided. When we had opposing arguments, they were immediately disregarded and as the subject is based heavily on our view of the media, I felt that this was a terrible way to start the discussion. His views on nationalism, commercialism, competitions were infuriating. Given that the main aim of Olympic achievement is to try your best against the rest of the world, why would athletes be happy to settle for anything less? The likes of Stephanie Rice, Micheal Phelps & Usain Bolt have been programmed through years of physical competition to be the best in their sport. If Olympic competition rewarded everyone with an achievement award, the whole point of competition is completely lost. The Australian psyche is built on one of achievement. We pride ourselves of being the best, our fanatical support for our athletes and our ability to match in with nations whose populations out-number us exponentially. I agree with Brian that the Olympics have become commercialized, my question is that such a bad thing? It costs over 40 billions dollars for a city to host an Olympic Games and the money has to come from companies willing to put their name to the Games. The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting spectacle in the world, with a global audience of over one billion people of course multinational companies are going to jump on the bandwagon, they have too or we will potentially see the death of Olympic competition.

There are so many more points that I could talk about in this post but I must highlight on this weeks reading.

“More than an old flame: national symbolism and the media in the torch ceremony of the Olympics” Mr. John Sinclair

It was interesting to learn how the birth of the Olympic flame and the ‘invention of tradition’ came to exist. Implemented as a prelude to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the Olympic flame and its path through each Olympiad continues to highlight the cultural and political differences of the host nation
During the 2000 Sydney Olympics I was 13 years old and had an intense interest in the torch relay. I remember vividly collecting the commemoratory pins The Age newspaper were giving away during the lead-up to the opening ceremony and much of the discussion around the path of the relay.
From the issues of nepotism surrounding SOCOG’s president Kevin Gosper to the towns and cities left out of the historic route. The Sydney Olympics were certainly not drama free. However, they were an outstanding success. Not only in the pool, on the track or during any sporting competition, they were a success as they generated great discussion around reconciliation and forced the country to push for equality. To me, that is what the Olympics do. They bring to together a nation and strive for social inclusiveness. The 2000 Sydney Olympics will always be remembered for a number of reasons; the highlight for me is that we did it for each other. You can always count of sport and competiveness to bring together community.