Why do I hate the Olympics?

I was asked this on Twitter. The answer is, I don’t. I’ve got nothing against it. I participate in sport (kickboxing, which isn’t an Olympic sport, although nonsense like water polo is), and enjoy it well enough although I’m not comfortable with the Nietzschean cult of the Superman of many Sports fans.

I hope that the men and women who’ve trained so hard receive the medals, sponsorship and respect they rightly deserve – from whatever nation they come from. (Pumped-up nationalism leaves me cold, too. I’d rather see the best athlete win than the British one.)

My most trivial beef with the Olympics is that we’re obliged to care. The TV news is dominated by Olympics news, whereas I’d argue that the civil war in Syria is more important.

Primarily, though, it’s the horrible corporatism that sticks in my throat. If the Olympics really were a coming together of nations to celebrate human endeavour™, there wouldn’t be Olympic branding police stopping people using Mastercards or buying Pepsi. What the Olympics is really about is money and marketing.

Two of the sponsors are Coca-Cola and McDonalds, peddlars of sugar-filled soft drinks and vile fast food. In the not-too-distant future, that will seem as ridiculous as allowing cigarette companies to sponsor sports events.

Any sporting event that allows Coke and McDonalds to sponsor isn’t really about sport – it’s about money.

(See also London 2012: how the Olympics suckered the Left (in the Torygraph!): “The London Olympics are the most Right-wing major event in Britain’s modern history. Billions of pounds are taken from poor and middle-income taxpayers and service users to build temples to a corporate and sporting elite. Democratic, grassroots sport is stripped of money to fund the most rarefied sport imaginable. The police and the state are turned into the enforcement arm of Coca-Cola. How did this event suddenly become the toast of the Left?” and Father of Olympic branding: my rules are being abused “London has gone too far, says man who brought sponsors to the Games”.)

11 Responses to “ Why do I hate the Olympics? ”

Comment by Ian

Agreed. The swathes of empty seats are also ridiculous, the tickets for which are in the hands of the sponsors.

Comment by Divtastic

Yeah because we never hear anything about the war in Syria, or wars elsewhere, wars we’ll have fuckall impact on (despite the fact war and global violence has been on a steady decline).

The Olympics are once every couple of years, personally I think we should celebrate it MORE in our society of fat fucks and beautifying the unhealthy and laziness.

As for the corporatism, it’s certainly a shame and clearly a reflection of society. But it’s easily ignored if you’re not a moron.

Comment by threefjefff

Beautifying the unhealthy and laziness? What television are you watching/magazines are you reading? I can’t pick up a razor without some smirking Adonis smirking at me. Apparently only Aphrodite is allowed any form of beauty product. Television is a heavily made up and barely blemished stamping on a fat fuck forever.

As for the corporatism, what better than to ignore it? It’s those very same adverts that you don’t quite recall that’ll steer you into picking up a Coke™ to go with your Big Mac™ and paying it off with your Visa™ credit card.

I agree wholeheartedly. I’d love an olympics that went back to a less corporate affair. And perhaps one that was content being broadcast on 36 channels without invading the news.

Comment by Futekov

All this is sad but unsurprising.

The news will always be more nationalistic than humanistic, I also get irritated but that is how today’s societies work.

I suspect that the organizers were simply too eager to make the best, most grandiose and over-the-top olympics so far, which is why they couldn’t allow themselves to be picky about where the money comes from.

But yeah, they do say whenever possible that the spirit of the olympics is fairness, friendly competition, strive for achievement and so on. To be honest I think we will have olympic games that keep up to this standard a bit more in our lifetime.

Comment by Grant

Futekov, although it’s nice to think that sponsors money will have at least contributed in a significant way towards the hosting of the games, the reality is that public sector funds form the vast majority of the overall budget. It’s something like £700million of sponsors funding available to LOCOG, vs an estimated £13billion overall cost. It’s tragic that those who contributed least to the games are given so much favour.

They replaced an allotment with the worlds biggest McDonald’s for the Olympic park! I’d have liked to have seen a multi cultural marketplace, like those for which London is actually quite well known.

Comment by Bill Lees

Agree with your distaste for the grim corporate ownership of the whole thing. The sport is mildly distracting, but will get better once the track and field athletics gets started.

However, the opening ceremony by Danny Boyle – a cultural artefact that hit several nails squarely on the head – has been by far the most interesting and remarkable thing about it all thus far.

Comment by Tim

Thoroughly agree. Sickening corporate greed enshrined in law (olympic and paralympic games act 2006).
The bits of the opening ceremony I saw certainly didn’t warrant being called “multi-cultural crap” which is how one tory MP described it on twitter. The same tory MP that got into bother for attending a Nazi themed stag party, funnily enough…

Comment by Hueij

You may be right about about all the Olympics being a lot of bull, but the opening ceremony was totally worth it. One thing you Brits do right: not being afraid of making fun of yourselves, not taking yourselves too serious. Well done.

Comment by uglyfatbloke

So the Olympics are jolly nice for wealthy pampered athletes and their coaches/managers/agents etc…and they are doubtless very nice for the most heavily subsidised part of the country (London), but what do the rest of us (the overwhelming majority as it happens) get out of it? Oh…we get to pay for it ..that’s nice.

Comment by gordon

And I think those of you who have messaged here to say the Olympics are justified are missing the point. First, the Olympics is no longer a sporting contest. That died long, long ago. The entire basis of the Olympics is to make money for sponsors etc. That’s why governments who tell you that the host country will make massive amounts of money, over and above the grossly disgusting costs of hosting this event (lets not call it a sporting contest) are misleading the public in the extreme. The purpose of the games used to be amateur sporting contest. Now we have money paid to so called sports people to appear. It may be outright payment or a tenuous appearance of expenses to appear; its irrelevant. The outrageous waste of tax payers money when the country is in dire state shows how much politicians could not care one iota about the ordinary citizens plight. If they did, this kind of profligate squandering of public money would never take place. It’s about time politicians realised they cannot be all things to all men and try and administer this country in the fashion best placed to make it succeed. When this worthless event is long gone, we as tax payers will still be paying money for its two weeks of sheer, unmitigated folly. It’s up to you as tax payers, you can either realise what the word priority means or allow these administrators to dig your country into further ruin. As for the non entity that is Sebastian Coe, let’s not even talk about this man who is an establishment lacky.