August 25, 2012

The Ugly Truth About the Olympics.


photo: Mau Mau

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

~ Thoreau

With the brief respite from the tidal wave of news about the Olympics, while the world awaits the arrival of the Paralympics, it might well be a good time to bring some balanced perspective to the spectacle that is the Olympic Games.

The games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, located in southwest Greece, to honour the God, Zeus.

They were abolished by the Christian Roman emperor, Theodosius I, on religious grounds, because of their pagan influences only to be revived by a French aristocrat, Pierre de Coubertin, who was disappointed that France had lost the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

He attributed this loss to the ‘lack of vigour’ in Frenchmen, due to a lack of sporting education. He convinced a consortium of elites into reviving the Olympic Games, making them believe that it would give the cause of peace ‘a new and strong ally.’ But here are some shadow qualities the Olympics actually promote.


“The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships or modern corporations.”

~ Chomsky

So, what we have is the Olympic committee, deciding who gets to play while they (and an elite group of athletes and corporate hierarchy) fly around the world, supported by tax breaks and lottery funding. Only after the elites, their families and clients have been taken care of can mere mortals be allowed to watch…at a premium of course.

This is all supported by an army of volunteers; they think they are supporting something noble but they’re actually supporting the corporate elite for free. Slavery disguised.


Just as it happened in ancient Rome, the games are becoming more lavish and expensive for the hosting nations.

It takes more and more to appease the collective ego of the Olympic organisers, sponsors—and to keep the masses entertained. Being a gladiator in Roman times offered a poor serf the chance to become wealthy and enter higher society.

Now that the London Games are over, we are given the privilege of seeing the newly crowned elites partying lavishly, celebrating their multimillion dollar endorsements.

We have Prince Harry, with his crown jewels on display, swigging champagne with Olympic champions and half naked women, while the majority of the people in the world are desperately clinging to their jobs.

The Illusion of Hope

The ideal of the Olympics is that with hard work, one can achieve high success.

Actually, a gold medal is as much a testament to an athlete’s genes, access to resources and even luck at this level; the amount of resources it takes to train just a few people to this level is huge.

There is a feeling of hope that the fine ideals of the Olympians will rub off.

It won’t.

Some people will be encouraged to start going to the gym maybe—but like New Year resolutions, the motivation will last about six weeks.

The cost of the Olympics does not nearly give enough of a return on investment for the local people who have to pay for it. Like a swarm of locusts, the Olympic entourage descends, consumes all the resources—and usually leaves the place barren, upon their departure.

Corporate white washing

The Olympics is proudly brought to you by the same people who promote debt, obesity, cancer and oil spills.

They even have their own brand police to ensure local entrepreneurial members of the public cannot join the gravy train that is the Olympics…even though we are in a recession. You can be sure to get a great meal at McDonald’s, which seems ironic, as it is supposed to be an elite sporting event.

BP, who brought you the Deepwater Horizon ecological disaster, will kindly help you offset your carbon footprint; the hypocrisy is truly Olympian in stature.

Marketing is a tax break for the corporatocracy, so you can imagine how grateful they are to be splashed across every media outlet at the taxpayers’ expense. Moreover; they got all the best seats.


When you make other people heroes, you disempower yourself.

Throwing a javelin or being able to run extremely fast for 26.2 miles is an impressive attribute—but it’s hardly going to save the world. Some people benefit from the happy accidents of having genes which help an athlete adapt to a particular sport.

It’s Darwinian selection on the playing field. However, they are treated much like gods.

Projection of positive shadow qualities usually endows the recipient with qualities which maybe there—but not to the degree that are projected.

The athlete’s are doing a job which they love to do and for which they get paid handsomely for. But in projecting onto them, we forget about others who are equally deserving. What about the people who looks after the sick and elderly?

It’s not that the athlete’s are undeserving…just not anymore than anyone else who does a heroic job, day in and day out, for very little reward.


“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

~ Edmund Burke

Like some massive propaganda exercise, the use of events like the Olympics, royal weddings, jubilees and wars serve very much as the gladiatorial games did in ancient Rome.

It keeps the masses occupied—the Olympics is a temporary distraction from the real challenges we all face and it’s pervasive. They are a political tool influencing the mood of the audience—it lies by omission.

It perniciously twists human ideals and incites the passions of the crowd to serve the few; the Olympic 2012 tag line was ‘Inspire a Generation’ but, inspire to do what?

It may purport to be about ethical values, heroic deeds and years of perspiration, with a continual bombardment of tales of epic proportions. But there is a very dark side to the Olympics.

It’s not about world peace and opportunity for all; it’s about blinding you to the problems on your doorstep and despite the recession, brainwashing you into spending more money on junk.

As Swedish journalist Sverker Lindström once noted in an interview, “If an athlete is asked how he or she feels about human rights violations in China, everybody gets upset. Evidently some types of questions are not to be asked.”

Under the cover of the Paralympics, disabled people in the United Kingdom are being persecuted.

In a bid to stop a small minority who ‘game’ the system (mere amateurs, compared to the wealthy elite and politicians), the government is sentencing disabled people to a life of fear and uncertainty.

Of course it’s easier to go with the flow; why complain and swim against the tide—they’re here now, might as well enjoy them, like everyone else. That’s how propaganda works and atrocities happen—because people do nothing.

Jesus didn’t enter the temple area and say, “Okay, I’ll let it pass this time but don’t let it happen again.” No—he drove out all who were buying and selling there; Buddha didn’t go with the flow of the river—he stood firm and crossed it, walking against the current.

It’s tough to face the hysterical crowd but that’s why we engage in personal, spiritual and physical development. Not to make life easier but to prepare us for the tough times we face in standing up to the darkness.


Editor: Bryonie Wise

Like elephant journal on Facebook.

Read 3 Comments and Reply

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Martin Murphy  |  Contribution: 2,520