Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Olympic Dreams and Fears (of a Philosophical Nature)

In just a few short weeks, the Beijing Olympics will begin. A fellow contributor to the blog suggested that we all address the following questions, which are intentionally wide in scope to allow for a wide variety of answers, from the personal to the political:

1. What is one good thing that you want to see happen at the Olympics?

2. What is one bad thing that you fear might happen, and what, if anything, can be done about it in advance?

Contributors as well as readers are invited to post their answers in the comments to this post.


Carl Thomen said...

(1)I would like to see some sort of radical innovation - and I'm not talking about inventing new types of performance enhancing equipment (sport already suffers too much from the largely unacknowledged problem of LZR swimsuits and composite hockey sticks). Rather, I'm thinking about a 21st century Fosbury Flop; the kind of change in technique or approach to a sport which redefines it instantly. We seem to be nearing a ceiling in a lot of Olympic sports; this, I think, is why more and more athletes are using drugs to run faster and jump higher. I hope to see someone using their mind.

(2)It’s hard to get away from the inevitable focus on doping and performance enhancing drugs during the Olympic Games. Someone is going to get caught, and what I hope I won’t see when this happens is a crying, tail-between-the-legs apology. I would rather see a shameless confession of the real reasons he or she felt compelled to use the drugs in the first place. We all know it’s wrong; what I want to know is, why risk it when so much is at stake? Where is this massive pressure to win coming from? We need to examine this, especially at an event supposedly held in the spirit of de Coubertin and competition for competition’s sake.

Mike Austin said...

(1) I'd like to see some examples of Olympism receive attention at the Games. For example, I'd like to see stories about the joy found in the effort related to sport that emphasize this aspect of Olympism as a way of life.
(2) I fear that not only will people get caught for doping, but it will be someone who has taken a strong anti-doping stance. Fans and participants alike don't need more of this kind of blatant hypocrisy.