L. Neil Smith's

Number 11, August 1996

Capturing the Gold

by John Taylor

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         I confess that I'm a sports fan. I'll play, watch, or talk about my favorite sports anywhere, any time. I make no apology to anyone. I've followed (certain) Olympic sports closely, both during and between the quadrennial games, for as long as I can remember. So, it will come as no surprise that I'm following the summer games this year. What's different is that this time I'm following certain aspects of them for a completely different reason. Here are some random thoughts on the Centennial Games:

The City

         Big money won out. Of course the games should have been held in Greece; it's the Centennial, for cryin' out loud. There's a reason that Greece leads the parade of nations every Olympics.
         Instead we find ourselves in that great Turneropolis of the "New South", Hotlanta, where the official medical complaint of the Olympics will surely be in the category of heat-related illnesses.
         Atlanta, by the way, is no longer a Southern city. It is an accident of geography that it lies in Georgia. It has been carpetbagged into submission ever since 1864, and the process has been completed. Don't judge the South by looking at Atlanta.

The Opening Ceremonies

         A tribute to Atlanta, citing significant events in that city's history, that didn't include any reference to The War? The only thing sillier than the 'firebird' symbolism for Atlanta's rise from the ashes of Union oppression was NBC's lame explanation of what it all meant.
         Later in the coverage, NBC did a piece on Sherman's march. There may be someone out there who believed the interesting slant put on the savagery committed in the name of Abraham Lenin's re-election -- probably the same person or persons who believes that Bill Clinton was really as moved as that single glistening tear in his eye intended to convey. I think he must have bottled it some time back, and only trots it out for special occasions, like the memorialization of the pre-emptive execution of Ron Brown. And of course he did 'the wave' like everyone else did. He managed to be facing two directions at the same time as well -- what else is new?

The Torch

         As my son Jon pointed out, the stylized torch lighted by the elegantly pathetic Mohammed Ali, looks very much like the Reebok (official footwear supplier to the Olympics) logo turned on its point and ignited. Later we noticed that the similarity was not lost on Reebok, as their commercials show their logo being turned onto its point and lighted. H-m-m-m.
         I wonder if they could have gotten a relative of William Tecumseh Sherman to carry the torch on the first relay leg into Atlanta.


         The second biggest complaint coming out of the Olympics is that traffic is impossible. Anyone who has driven in Atlanta in this half-century could have predicted that one. (See also The Press and The City)


         A security complement of thirty thousand, fully half of which are serving military personnel. (Although the organizers persist in pointing out that the military people are serving in minor support roles only -- just as in the White House, I suppose.)
         Apparently in the process of bringing the Olympics to Atlanta, we've created a new event -- the Posse Comitatus Toss. The Americans are prohibitive favorites.


         The Chinese, long suspected of doping their athletes, are performing far more poorly at these games than at previous competitions where testing was not as rigorous. Of course, performance-enhancement can come in many forms (see also The Dream Team)

The Press

         The media, fortunately, have been distracted by IBM, whose instant results computer system has been every bit as successful as their ventures into personal computers.
         Nonetheless, the press have gamely soldiered on, striving for new heights of irrelevance. Can someone please explain to me what qualifies John "New Wave Muzak" Tesh as a color commentator for gymnastics? Is there something that he and the luscious Mary Hart did that wasn't wasn't shown on "ET"?

The Dream Team

         Baron de Couberthin must be spinning in his grave. Avery Brundage probably wouldn't care. And Boutros-Boutros Samaranch -- well, let's just say that money talks, and amateurs walk.
         If the Olympics weren't in the summer, Mo Vaughn would be playing Olympic baseball. Tennis has fallen, so it's not just the team sports that have succumbed. I wonder how long it'll be before street corner drug dealers appear in the shooting events.
         Does anyone find the spectacle of the Dream Team elbowing their way through the Algerians just the least bit hypocritical? Granted, some countries blurred the line between amateur and professional long ago, but we've pretty much rubbed the IOC's nose in it. Hey -- we're the USA. We just don't lose at basketball.

Bright Spots

         I used to complain because events like Greco-Roman wrestling and weightlifting get little or no prime time coverage. I lose a lot of sleep waiting for the night-owl session every Olympics to see anything other than swimming, gymnastics, and basketball (and the 'glamour' track & field events in the second half of the spectacle).
         But I've changed my mind. Now, I'm glad they get very little coverage. Because they receive so little notice, the athletes who participate still hold, however tenuously, to the Olympic spirit. There is still some joy of athletic competition to be found, and some true, dedicated amateur athletes. I salute them all -- from the Bulgarian-Turkish weightlifter to the California 17-year old double trap gold medalist. Do not lament that your labors go largely unnoticed in the mainstream -- rather, rejoice, that you may still participate relatively unburdened by media inanity and logo-laden sponsorship. You are the true heroes of the competition, and we rejoice in your efforts.

John Taylor is the official disparager of the TurnerOlympics.

Imagine a government bent on sharing its sensitive, caring, environmentally friendly ways with an entire universe. Then imagine the army it needs. CLD - Collective Landing Detachment. Dark military SF. By Victor Milan. From AvoNova.

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