The Games have been corrupted by government money, lack of talent and little public interest in the events
Much is written about the hubris of world sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, with its pompous officials taking over the streets, hotels and even advertising hoardings of London. But the real story is the moral bankruptcy of the tournament itself.
Olympic participation has become little more than a government vanity project. Not just for the hosts, with their bribes and their billion-pound structures. But for all the big competing nations, with their costly pursuit of meaningless medals.....
money, voluntarily given, reflects society’s judgment of the merit of sport. Games like football, tennis, cricket and rugby are wealthy because they are popular.
In the Olympic Games, this dynamic is turned on its head. The reward for success is medals, and governments have come to the conclusion that Olympic medals bestow national prestige. The irony is that the easiest way to obtain medals is to target sports that are uncompetitive, either because they have little popular following (and so few participants), or are difficult and expensive to organise conventionally. Another way of putting it is that Olympic reward goes to sports that have little value in the estimation of the public.
Shamefully, Britain is particularly guilty of this tendency....
Britain has simply targeted Olympic events which attract little interest in an effort to boost its medal tally.
The Olympic Games are becoming increasingly dominated by such sports. There are ten different sailing events, in various types of boat, and you can win cycling medals on a BMX, on a mountain bike, in a velodrome or on the road. Some of these sports are beyond the reach of most of people in Britain, let alone the developing world.
For the sports that people ascribe real value to – football, boxing, golf, rugby, tennis, basketball – Olympic success is held to be unimportant. So with the exception of a handful of athletic events which demonstrate pure physical prowess, the rest of Olympic competition is corrupt in sporting terms because it reflects neither talent nor public enthusiasm.
What is worse, the games are corrupt in moral terms because they rely on the coercive deployment of resources by government. Whether or not we like watching people hop, skip and jump, we are forced, on pain of going to jail, to subsidise the participants and organisation that surrounds them.