Sunday, August 10, 2008
Worth Their Weight in Gold.
So I have decided to boycott the Olympics, not that the IOC nor BOCC will notice, but it is a personal choice. And a political one. I know the athletes when confronted with the question, “Will you boycott the Olympics?” The answer is inevitably “No” followed by “The Olympics are about sports, not politics.” Copout answer.
The Olympics are politics, and hosting them even more so. Don’t you think that China wanted to the Olympics to not only brush up its image but also to flex its muscle with a good gold medal showing? Maybe my decision not to participate seems small and insignificant, but if we all would be more active and stand up for what is the ethical thing to do, don’t you think the world would be a much better place?
Thankfully, cycling does not need the Olympics. I mean really think about it, does the fact riders like Merck, Armstrong or other champions having not won an Olympic medal tarnish or take away from their other accomplishments or careers? No. Has a rider ever built their career off of a gold medal? Again no. So then why play the game? I am sure there is a huge money factor for many of the involved parties, but from a riders perspective it is really just another feather in their cap.
Example, Guna Rita Dahle will go down in history as one of the most dominate riders, racking up a long string of World Cups and World Championships, and oh, she won a gold medal. Same for Bettini, a great classics rider, solid stage racer, multiple World Champion, also has a gold to his name. These two riders have had careers mere mortals can only dream of, even with out a little 24k piece of memorabilia from some sporting event that takes place every four years in a far away place where politicians and business interest groups greased the wheels of the Olympic machine.
Earlier in the year I had a pole asking you what is more important. The choices were top cycling events such as Classics, World Cups, Worlds and the Grand Tours along with the Olympics. In both cases (road and mountain biking) less than 10% chose the Olympics. So in the public platform, and in the eyes of most riders, an Olympic gold pales in comparison with a rainbow or yellow jersey.
We all need to engage more with the world we live in, be it in politics, voting, activism, volunteering, and so on… That includes making a political statement when you have the attention of the world. Riders must follow their convictions and not always the ambitions nor the all mighty dollar (even though it is not so mighty right now…).
Will you boycott the Olympics?