Friday, April 29, 2016

[tayhxctf] Amateurism at the Olympics

The modern Olympics (Pierre de Coubertin) were founded on an ideal of amateurism, an idea of getting people from all over the world together through their common love of athletics, then they go back to their non-athletic lives taking back with them the feeling of international brotherhood with an ultimate goal of world peace.

That ideal seems to have fallen by the wayside with both the increasing prevalence of professional athletes and international sports events being a political tool of nationalism and demonstrating superiority of one nation over another.  The idea of "represent your country" is inherently nationalist: contrast it to, "I don't see myself as an American; I see myself as a pole vaulter."

Maybe in the less major sports it still persists.

Do we need an event that returns to that ideal?

On one hand, heavily amateur dominated smaller events exist in droves (e.g., world pole vaulting convention).  International events are inherently expensive to travel to, so the money has to come from somewhere, so whoever is providing the money wants to know what's in it for them, e.g., if the state is providing the money, then it naturally becomes a nationalist tool.

On the other hand, international brotherhood might be a hopeless hippie dream: the forces, often political, that keep people and countries apart are much stronger than anything merely a joint event can bridge.  At such events in many participants is somewhat of a compartmentalized mentality: we will interact as fellow athletes, we might interact as fellow humans (most famously in the huge amount of sex that allegedly occurs) but we otherwise deliberately do nothing to build bridges between cultural and social differences: those topics are taboo, deliberately left unraised to temporarily pretend to get along.  (Inspired by dance events.)

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