FanDuel - WFBC

January 19, 2006

Flagging support for the Olypmic opening ceremonies?: Several Canadian athletes have turned down the chance to carry the flag during this year's opening Olympic ceremonies in Turin, saying it would tire them out for upcoming events. Don Cherry, for one, is outraged. Good decision by the athletes or just plain hosers?

posted by wfrazerjr to hockey at 09:06 AM - 79 comments

Damn it, someone fix the misspelling in the hed, please -- trying to type and eat a Western at the same time.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:13 AM on January 19

i think its a total outrage that no canadian will hold the flag. You should be proud to be a canadian an representing a great country.

posted by maria89 at 09:29 AM on January 19

Don Cherry is typically not an Olympic-luvin' kinda guy. And there are plenty of times when Cherry is a dumbass. But I agree with him on this one. Certainly the athletes are there to compete and concentrate on their sports. But rest-or-no-rest, there is absolutely no guarantee an athlete will win a medal. None. Having the honour of being your nations' flag-bearer at an Olympic Games on the other hand, should be an enormous source of pride, and is something nobody can ever take away from you. It seems to me if the athlete is too scared and distracted to carry a flag, then perhaps they've lost already. The athletes already have to board airplanes, get a little jet-lagged, settle into their new digs and surroundings, attend the opening ceremony, sit down for interviews, try to sell their sport, plus deal with friends & family in a tightly regulated and secure environment, etc., so how much tougher is it to carry a flag?

posted by the red terror at 09:33 AM on January 19

Seriously, if carrying a flag will tire you out and hurt your chances, you ain't no Olympian.

posted by garfield at 09:36 AM on January 19

Generally, being a standard bearer blows. But 1. this is not your usual situation, it's to lead your contingent, a place of honor. & 2. It's not like you have to carry the flag as you compete. As Garfield noted . . .

posted by RedStrike at 09:42 AM on January 19

Not that I am big on nationalism.

posted by RedStrike at 09:42 AM on January 19

Remeber how pissed Iago got when he was chosen to be a standard bearer. The way I look at it, if you force someone to be a standard bearer against their will it usually ends in a murder/suicide.

posted by HATER 187 at 09:48 AM on January 19

It is sad when an athlete isn't honored to have the oppurtunity to represent their country.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:56 AM on January 19

I've been to Canada once; hand me the flag, I'll do it for a free trip to Italy.

posted by arrmatey at 10:40 AM on January 19

Interjecting "Wild" Bill in a SpoFi discussion Hater? How low, (high), have we gone! Also, wouldn't that be a murder/suicide/execution?

posted by RedStrike at 10:47 AM on January 19

I wouldn't even of thought about it if you didn't use standard bearer in your post.

posted by HATER 187 at 10:56 AM on January 19

Maybe they're Arrested Development fans.

posted by yerfatma at 11:39 AM on January 19

omg, did you guys just drop a Shakespearean reference in the thread? Dannnng. Color me impressed.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:07 PM on January 19

What a lot of bullshit from Don Cherry (and what a surprise). I walked in the Opening Ceremonies, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was also, believe it or not, tiring. No, not tiring like competition is tiring, but emotional, and exciting, and tiring nevertheless. If I had been asked by my NSF if I wanted to be nominated as Canada's flagbearer, I would have jumped at the chance. But not all of my teammates even attended the opening ceremonies. And our team didn't start competition until a week later! Most of the first-timers (like me) wanted to be there badly enough that we were willing to endure the five-hour (return) drive from our training camp to Atlanta and back. Most of the veterans did not care that much about going, so they stayed at camp and got one more good meal and one more good night's sleep than the rest of us did. In 2004, the entire flatwater canoe/kayak team stayed in training camp in France and missed the Opening Ceremonies. In Turin, the Canadian men's hockey team won't be at the opening either, because they'll still be playing NHL games. Although the article doesn't explicitly say so, that's the real issue here. For almost all of the athletes in question, it's not about carrying the flag, it's about going to the opening, period. Many athletes do not go to the opening ceremonies at all, because they feel that they don' t have time to adequately recover from the event. What's wrong with that? The athletes on the Olympic team have devoted years, or even decades, of their lives to their sports. The good ones have done that with a singular focus on the opportunity to compete at the Olympics, not to be there. Along the way, they've given up hundreds of opportunities to socialize with their friends on Saturday night, and made thousands of other small sacrifices. So now we should condemn them for deciding not to participate in a five-hour party on the eve of the most important competition of their lives?

posted by Amateur at 12:09 PM on January 19

the red terror: Certainly the athletes are there to compete and concentrate on their sports. But rest-or-no-rest, there is absolutely no guarantee an athlete will win a medal. None. Oh shit, is that the point? Did I gain nothing from my Olympic experience? My participant's medal? My seventh-place finish? My personal best time? My best-ever-for-Canada finish and Canadian record? I guess I failed, then. But if only I had carried the flag, then at least I'd have something that nobody could ever take away from me.

posted by Amateur at 12:21 PM on January 19

Et tu worldcup? The fall Strike!

posted by RedStrike at 12:25 PM on January 19

Note that they requested not to be nominated. It doesn't sound like they actually were offered and turned it down.

posted by Smackfu at 12:38 PM on January 19

The Olympics schedule really is action-packed. I seem to remember from Salt Lake City that some sports had trials or eliminations or whatnot even before the opening ceremonies. I dunno if that's happening in Torino, but let's take a look at the published schedule of events. The opening ceremonies start at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 10, in Torino; the next morning at 11 a.m. is the 15k leg of the nordic combined, which is happening somewhere up in the hills. So...you're gonna go to the opening ceremonies, get done about midnight, get into the van, fight traffic back to your accomodations, get to bed whenever, and be on top of your game at 11 the next morning? Nuh uh. There are a lot of stories of top international athletes (Amateur, I bet the name Scott Shipley rings a bell) who got too caught up in the Olympic brouhaha and weren't able to perform well in their events. Cherry's a couch-sitter just like the rest of us; he oughta shut up about what the athletes should be doing. Let 'em win a medal; I bet he won't be so ashamed of them then.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:52 PM on January 19

Good link lbb. No way the nordic combined athletes -- any of them, from any country -- are going to be at the ceremonies, unless they're either (1) forced to be present by their Olympic committees, or (2) just happy to be at the Olympics and don't care about how they perform. The only Canadian athlete mentioned who -- in my opinion -- has "lots of time" before his event is Leuders in the bobsleigh, who doesn't compete for a week. But that's just my couch-sitter's opinion, and it shouldn't count for squat. He's got his own preparation plan, so let him follow it.

posted by Amateur at 01:00 PM on January 19

Cherry's a couch-sitter just like the rest of us; he oughta shut up about what the athletes should be doing. no disrespect llb, I agree w/ your point, but isn't that a little hypocritical.

posted by njsk8r20 at 01:06 PM on January 19

Seriously, if carrying a flag will tire you out and hurt your chances, you ain't no Olympian. Amen to that. Scott Hamilton, the diminutive figure skating legend, did the honors in the 1980 Lake Placid games and came in fifth. In Sarajevo four years later, he won the Gold. I don't remember him saying, "The difference was I didn't carry that heavy flag this time."

posted by L.N. Smithee at 01:13 PM on January 19

smithee, once again, it's not about the flag: "A lot of athletes staying in the mountains are being told it'll be a 12-hour turnaround. It'll be two to three hours to get into Turin; they'll then stage for three hours; they'll move into a waiting zone before the four hour ceremony and then back to Sestriere. The athlete wouldn't get back until three or four in the morning, which is like staying up all night." This part also warmed my heart, although it has nothing to do with the topic: "[staying up all night is] No big deal for a career minor hockey leaguer like Cherry, who spent such regular commutes polishing off road pops with bloated teammates unable to step up to the NHL." Amen to that.

posted by Amateur at 01:23 PM on January 19

njsktoomanylettersandnumbers: no disrespect llb, I agree w/ your point, but isn't that a little hypocritical. Eh, well...while this is a public forum, somehow I don't think any Olympians are gonna even know about the opinions expressed here, much less be troubled by them. L.N. Smithee: Amen to that. Scott Hamilton, the diminutive figure skating legend, did the honors in the 1980 Lake Placid games and came in fifth. Interesting example; Lake Placid is widely considered to be "the last of the small-town Olympics. Everything was much closer together, the ceremonies themselves were a lot shorter, and I think that Hamilton may well have quite literally been competing within walking distance of the opening ceremonies venue. I'm willing to bet he could have been in bed by 11 pm if he'd wanted to be.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:28 PM on January 19

I would tend to believe what Amateur is saying over Don Cherry, seeing as Cherry has gone to one fewer Olympics.

posted by chicobangs at 01:36 PM on January 19

I agree that the Opening Ceremonies can be (but shouldn't be) perceived as a pain in the ass. What Amateur fails to take into account is that the Olympics is a spectacle for the world to watch, and not simply the act of attaining a goal one set for one's self. I know its brutal for worldclass athletes to attend an event where they can't rest, but I say "suck it up."

posted by garfield at 01:47 PM on January 19

njsktoomanylettersandnumbers: (I thought it was easier than typing out New Jersey skateboarder who wears #20. I still have to look at the keyboard) I'm sorry, I just thought that sentence was too funny because I was sitting at my cpu giving my opinions about the fate of a hockey team. On topic, if you are mad at an athlete for wanting to be prepared to give all they can for thier country, then you have issues. It would be more fair if every athlete had to attend the ceremonies and carry a flag than just a select few.

posted by njsk8r20 at 01:56 PM on January 19

(I thought it was easier than typing out New Jersey skateboarder who wears #20. I still have to look at the keyboard) I was being lazy. Nobody around here types out my entire nick; most of us with long and/or tricky-to-type nicks end up getting abbreviated (lbb, chico, wc2k, wfjr, etc.). On topic, if you are mad at an athlete for wanting to be prepared to give all they can for thier country, then you have issues. It would be more fair if every athlete had to attend the ceremonies and carry a flag than just a select few. I don't think that would be fair, when some of them are living just down the street and others are a two-three hour drive away. The way you make it fair is the way it is now: nobody has to go if they don't want to. I mean, let's get real: who really thinks that these folks want to skip the opening ceremonies? Who thinks they wouldn't love to carry in their country's flag? I'm sure they'd all love to be there if they wouldn't be sacrificing an entire night's sleep (and another ten hours before and during the ceremony). Let the athletes make the call about whether the opening ceremony is a sensible use of their time, and let jingoistic blowhards go bark at the moon if they don't like it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:09 PM on January 19

Amateur, I guess you're right. When I think back to my glorious athletic past, it dawns on me how hard and exhausting it was doing stuff like lifting the laundary, going down to the store for a jug of milk, lifting my arms to type at the keyboard, etc. It's easy to forget in one's old age how difficult such simple activities were in my youth. Thank god we all get older . . . and stronger.

posted by the red terror at 02:10 PM on January 19

garfield, the only part of the Olympic "spectacle" that interests me, as a couch-sitter, is the sporting competition itself. So I think that the only thing the athletes owe me, as a taxpayer, as a fan, and as a volunteer, is their best performance when it counts. The truth is that many fans and many athletes are very excited by the parade of nations, so it works out nicely for the spectacle. But don't tell me that individual athletes should be forced to participate. They don't owe us that.

posted by Amateur at 02:24 PM on January 19

Fair enough. I could be biased on the subject, having participated in Calgary's ceremonies. I thought they were pretty cool. At the same time, seeing one of the 'big names' carry the flag in for each country is much better than the constant repetition from the broadcasters of "so and so had better things to do." I also think the closing ceremonies are more for the athletes, making the opening ceremonies more for the fans. It gets me all amped up. But since there is no way to ensure the fairocity of all the athletes involved getting the same amount of rest, I reserve the right to be disappointed in any athlete that doesn't want to carry their own flag, save for informed political reasons.

posted by garfield at 02:31 PM on January 19

I thought cheerleaders were supposed to carry the flags.

posted by njsk8r20 at 02:40 PM on January 19

those are pom-poms dude

posted by garfield at 02:42 PM on January 19

much better than the constant repetition from the broadcasters of "so and so had better things to do." Alternatively, the networks could get better scripts prepared for the on-camera talent so they have useful or entertaining things to stay rather than this dull twaddle.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:48 PM on January 19

Suck it up, indeed. I'm all for amateur athletics. But there are far too many amateur athletes that do nothing but whinge. They whinge about not receiving enough of my tax dollars. They whinge about lack of support from sponsorship and television. Now they're whinging about how opening ceremonies make them vewy, vewy tired. These athletes seem to routinely forget that with the exception of a few sports which have continual popularity (hockey, figure skating and sometimes downhill skiing), hardly anybody in North America cares about most of these Winter Olympic sports. The fact that they put their indifference aside once every four years to watch the Olympic Games is because those games are a brand, it is a marquee showcase. If you put tiddlywinks on ice as a new sport at the Olympics, North Americans would think it ridiculous, but they would watch, and then once the Olympics was over, they'd find something better to do. How do I know this...? Because I've seen it happen every time. Look at how many Olympic athletes and their sports are routinely ignored during the intervening 4 years between Olympic Games. Despite having a billion-dollar promotion and vast television coverage to promote most of these sports, when the Games put the closing ceremony behind them, the public doesn't give a toss about most of these athletes or their sports until four years later when the next Olympic Games rolls around. I'm not saying that's right. And I'm not saying that's either good or bad. But it is reality. And to think otherwise is a distortion of reality. If athletes continue to harp and whinge in public about their sad lot in life and complain about the honour of having to carry a flag for their nation, then none of us need be surprised when the public puts a hand up and says, enough -- enough of these spoiled whingers and their pathetic complaints. If they don't care about honouring us -- the people that bankroll their athletics careers and send them to the Games in the first place -- then why should the public care about them? Amateur athletes need to understand that the public is invested in them -- sure we'd love to see them win medals, and yes there are grumbles when they fall short. But for the most part, the public respects the athletes that compete, and when the athlete loses, the public is for the most part incredibly forgiving of their sacrifices. Amateur athletes may bemoan the vast amounts of money that professional athletes make, but the expectations are at entirely different levels. When a highly touted Olympic athlete flops, there's a few loudmouth cynics, but most countrymen feel terrible about it, because we are competing as a nation. That's not the same thing as the publics expectations of professional athletes. Seriously, how many amateur athletes face the same hostile abuse that zillionaires like Alex Rodriquez and Terrell Owens get every day? The public understands the expectations of the amateur athlete better than the amateur athlete realises. Selfishness from athletes is hardly a new phenomenon. But the athletes have to grow up and grasp the public mood. Self-righteous whinging is not in the best interests of themselves, nor the growth of their sports. It's bad promotion.

posted by the red terror at 02:56 PM on January 19

constant repetition from the broadcasters of so and so had better things to do And that's the worst part about this whole "controversy." Every Canadian NSF is going to nominate somebody who would be thrilled to carry the flag -- some big names among them, I am sure -- and the COC is going to pick somebody, and half of the story is going to be about how Scott, Leuders, and Hughes didn't want the job. Pretty shitty for whoever gets to do it, I say.

posted by Amateur at 02:59 PM on January 19

Amateur, I mean no disrespect. And I don't want to doubt your integrity. But this is the internet. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and I love to engage in a discussion of ideas. Isn't it possible, pounding away on a keyboard, that anybody can hide behind their anonymity and say they were a former astronaut, or ask for your credit card account numbers? If someone engages into a debate and then takes the high road insisting the position they have staked out has more validity because they have accomplished something extraordinary, then surely it behooves the person making a claim of legitimacy and authority to attach a real name to that legitimacy. This is the internet after all, users are expected to exercise skepticism of anybody that makes claims and hides behind a pseudonym. Don Cherry has a nickname -- "Grapes" -- but at least he fronts.

posted by the red terror at 03:15 PM on January 19

R_T, that big post up there a few? That was beautiful, man, just beautiful. I think there's a simple way to fix this. Just make it mandatory for all Olympic athletes from any countries to show up for the opening ceremonies. You don't show, you don't compete. The playing field is levelled as far as it can be and it shuts off a source of whining from the athletes. And lbb said my name on SportsFilter! Yay!

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:45 PM on January 19

I don't want to sound like a dickhole here, but couldn't this whole problem be solved by making the flag, i dunno - lighter and more manageable? Think of all the companies that make the sports equipment in the olympics. All those superlight polywhatever composite dojabbers? Wouldn't those companies just be dying to say that they were the ones who were commissioned make the Canadian flag for the Olympics? "Introducing Team Canada ...brought to you by BASF." Alternately, you could just stick the fucker on a Roomba and let it go to town.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:52 PM on January 19

Wow, red terror -- over the top! Let's leave aside your attack on Amateur -- who, I'm sure, can produce the creds, but doesn't owe you any such explanation -- and take a look at some of what you accused the Canadian athletes of doing. ...far too many amateur athletes that do nothing but whinge. They whinge about not receiving enough of my tax dollars. They whinge about lack of support from sponsorship and television. Now they're whinging about how opening ceremonies make them vewy, vewy tired.... If athletes continue to harp and whinge in public... If they don't care about honouring us -- the people that bankroll their athletics careers and send them to the Games in the first place... Self-righteous whinging... So just what "whinging" are you talking about? I didn't see any "whinging" quotes in that link. You heard Cherry's (mis?)representation of some athletes' asking not to carry the flag. You don't know why they declined. You don't know how they declined. You don't know that they "whinged" or -- if there was any "whinging" -- why they "whinged". It seems to me that you and Cherry are both whipping yourselves into a froth over an imagined offense that, in reality, is probably nowhere near the grievous and deliberate insult to all things Canadian that you seem to feel it is. Also, in putting the spectacle for the tee vee audience ahead of the athletic pursuit, you are guilty of pissing on the Olympic ideals. Yes, the modern Olympics has become a spectacle, but in these very opening ceremonies that you claim are so vitally meaningful that every athlete should be there, they'll have some things to say about why everybody is there, and it won't be to gain market share for Coca-Cola. The Olympics are supposed to be about the athletes, striving to do their best to be faster, higher, and stronger. So why don't you and Cherry just leave 'em to it, and stop castigating them for "whinging" -- at least unless and until you can produce an actual example of said "whinging" to get indignant about?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:53 PM on January 19

Wow, red terror -- over the top! Let's leave aside your attack on Amateur -- who, I'm sure, can produce the creds, but doesn't owe you any such explanation -- and take a look at some of what you accused the Canadian athletes of doing. One, it wasn't over the top, I wrote what I believe. Two, it wasn't an attack. And three, I never said he had to provide me his bona fides, I simply made the point that if someone makes an impressive personal claim to embolden the validity of their argument, and does it hiding behind anonymity -- whether the claim is true or not -- then it is only entirely reasonable for me to be skeptical about those bona fides. Just because a voice in the darkness tells me something doesn't mean I have to believe it. I get emails across the transom from the daughters of jailed Africa political leaders telling me that I can get a million dollars all the time. Doesn't mean I believe them. Common sense. So just what "whinging" are you talking about? I didn't see any "whinging" quotes in that link. I wasn't discussing the link per se. The self-righteous whinging certainly isn't a part of every athletes behaviour, but it has happened far too frequently for me to ignore or dismiss as an aberation. From a Canadian perspective, all you have to do is pay regular attention to the CBC and read the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Macleans magazine. Consider a common prevailing attitude: "The athletes on the Olympic team have devoted years, or even decades, of their lives to their sports." I don't deny that. But it cuts both ways. Continuing... "Along the way, they've given up hundreds of opportunities to socialize with their friends on Saturday night, and made thousands of other small sacrifices." You won't get an argument from me about that. On the other hand, it seems churlish for athletes who fail to recognise and acknowledge the other side. An Olympic athlete is a member of a partnership. While those Olympic athletes are sacrificing all their spare time, it's also true that blue-collar labourers are also giving up 3-4 months sweat & salary per year so that their government can build schools, roads, hospitals -- and yes -- even send amateur athletes to the Olympic Games. The public has a stake in this. Too many amateur athletes tend to forget that. They think their participation is exclusively about medal podiums and performance-bests. Fair enough. If that is their bottomline, then perhaps athletes needn't be so embittered when the public starts demanding their athletes deliver better value for their money. Or, god forbid, maybe the public will wash their hands of it and say they've had a gutsful, demanding their tax dollars go to something more constructive and valuable to society. "Oh shit, is that the point? Did I gain nothing from my Olympic experience? My participant's medal? My seventh-place finish? My personal best time? My best-ever-for-Canada finish and Canadian record?" Again, it's not just the individual athlete that has a stake in this. The public is invested. If it's just about the self-satisfaction of the individual athlete, then don't be surprised that the public throws their hands up and says, Fine, if it's just about you, then find your own bloody way to the Olympics, I want out of this deal. I guess the point I am trying to make is that the public has a desire for the athlete to succeed, but they also have a belief and expectation that as a nation we are all in it together. When an athlete puts his-or-herself ahead of nation, then it is not unreasonable that the public, who hands over their earnings to that athlete, feels cheated. I understand you feel differently. Well, I for one am getting tired of having to defend the Olympics -- and our tax dollars supporting these games -- to people, even sports fans, that I meet all the time who think the Games are a frivolous waste of money. Some day I might have to join them: No more handouts -- make it all professional, and let the athletes get their sponsors and finance their own way. Then, if none of the professional athletes wanted to turn up to the opening ceremony, that will be entirely their prerogative, and the public won't have any right to complain. But as long as they are footing the bill, the public has every right to expect a certain level of returning the favour. Besides, if you turned this whole thing over to professionalism, I promise you, athletes would see much tighter demands from their sponsors to fulfill contractual obligations, and it would be entirely in the sponsors and the athletes professional interest to do so. But that's just me.

posted by the red terror at 05:12 PM on January 19

lbb, I'm not sure if you're putting "whinging" in quotations for this purpose, but it's a perfectly acceptable spelling in Canada of what you'd use as "whining." Quoted from originally linked article: "Marching in the opening ceremonies is exhausting, it takes so much out of you," she said. "These athletes train their whole lives — 11 months a year, six days a week — so one day they can represent their country. Why else would they do it? They don't do it for money, for recognition. Any athlete saying, `No' is doing it because they want to be at their best for their country. We should be saying, `Thank you' to them for not jeopardizing that." So I fully expect that no athlete that has ever competed in the Olympics will ever then accept corporate sponsorship, appear in an advertisment or use the Olympics as a springboard to turn professional. And we should also do away with the medal ceremonies, because for God's sake, this isn't about recognition. Oh, and calling Don Cherry a "couch-sitter" is absolute horseshit. The man played damned near 20 years of professional hockey at the top levels of the sport. He's 72 fucking years old, but he can still get out and run drills during practices. If your athletic prowess so belittles Cherry's that you can relegate him to that status, feel free to spell out your accomplishments and let us judge.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:16 PM on January 19

I think Grapes is perfectly capable of defending himself and tends to open himself to those sorts of attacks. In fact, I imagine his response would be to buy the speaker a beer. Besides, we already got enough white male defenders.

posted by yerfatma at 05:31 PM on January 19

Geez, terror - that's fucking weak. I really have a hard time with the bleacher criticism. I don't think anyone that has worked as hard as Olympic athletes have worked owes, you, John Q. Taxpayer - shit. You want them to represent your country and do well. Canada is so fucked in the back-handed way it supports these athletes it's frustrating. We criticize them for not carrying the flag, taking our money and then having the balls to come in seventh in the world. So essentially, we seem to want them to win in spite of what they think is the best way to go about doing it and to do it for less money - then thank us profusely for all the love and support. I'm with the athletes - fuck you. You spend your entire life preparing at a level that most people - you and me included - have never bothered to try for one moment in many sports that no one cares about but you and then get criticized for not caring the flag into the damn stadium? By a bunch of people who will forget about you a day after you compete? What do the fans deserve exactly? I say fuck 'em. Canada doesn't just take athletes to the Olympics - the athletes take Canada. And they don't get the corporate sponsorship unless they win. I wouldn't let anything get in the way of that - including the spectacle of the opening ceremonies - would you? These people are penniless for the most part. They make the sacrifices - do you have any idea how much of your damn tax dollars make it into their pocket? Extremely little. What percentage of the federal budget goes into amateur athletics? Again, a negligible amount. This criticism is totally unfair and unwarranted.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:50 PM on January 19

terror, in my comment here I admit that I made a bit of a meal of my being an Olympic athlete. I was a bit offended when you implied that if you didn't win a medal, and you didn't carry the flag, you didn't have anything you could take away from the Olympics. OK, I'm a bit sensitive. Otherwise, I don't make any claim to greater authority here, and I've been polite. Since we've been discussing the experience of the opening ceremonies, I think that my own experience is relevant in this case. And several people here know who I am -- you won't recognize my name, but if you want to e-mail me, I've got not problem telling you. For what that's worth.

posted by Amateur at 06:08 PM on January 19

terror, I think that you have some good points here. Sometimes, athletes do forget that there is a two-way relationship with the public -- but I don't think that this is an example of that, at all. You and I are funding those athletes, you're absolutely right. And what do we expect from them in return? To walk around the stadium in funny hats? No, thanks. I hope that my tax dollars are helping them perform at world-class levels. And I'm willing to let them and their coaches judge the best way to get that done.

posted by Amateur at 06:49 PM on January 19

wfrazerjr: I think there's a simple way to fix this. Just make it mandatory for all Olympic athletes from any countries to show up for the opening ceremonies. You don't show, you don't compete. The playing field is levelled as far as it can be and it shuts off a source of whining from the athletes. Who does this benefit? Seriously. Does anybody really care that much about the parade of nations? Do you ever watch it? And if you do, did you ever notice before that about 20% (I'm guessing here) of the athletes weren't there? Has this always been a pet peeve of yours, or only since Don Cherry fanned your flame? Also, although it's been asked and answered already, I'll ask again: who's whining? Some high-profile athletes quietly decided that they weren't going to go to the opening ceremonies and then they were asked to justify their decision. So they answered. wfrazerjr, later: So I fully expect that no athlete that has ever competed in the Olympics will ever then accept corporate sponsorship, appear in an advertisment or use the Olympics as a springboard to turn professional. And we should also do away with the medal ceremonies, because for God's sake, this isn't about recognition. Does it offend you, the idea that Olympic athletes are "doing it" for something other than medals and money? I don't get it. Nobody's claiming any moral superiority here -- just pointing out the fact that the vast majority of these athletes will never make a living at their sport, or win an Olympic medal. I assume that as a sports fan you must recognize that there are other things that motivate people, sometimes.

posted by Amateur at 08:18 PM on January 19

red terror, maybe you can tell me about the funding of Canadian Olympic teams. In the US, AFAIK, no tax dollars go into funding Olympic teams: the USOC has its fundraising, and the individual national teams have their fundraising. An athlete has to get pretty far up the food chain before they start getting any support from the USOC/national team development system (which is different for every sport), and that support rarely (if ever) consists of cash -- just gear, access to coaching and training facilities, sometimes payment of travel expenses. Athletes on a few teams (hockey, baseball) come from professional sports leagues where they're paid to play. Some others compete in sports where they don't pull down a salary, but where they have a chance at prize money (which can range from "pretty damn good" in a sport like tennis, to "not so much and only for a few" in a sport like alpine skiing). Many compete in sports where prize money is not all that evident. I don't know what the funding system is in Canada. From what you're saying, it sounds like everything the USOC and national teams provide in the US is provided from taxes in Canada. Even if that is so, however, it seems to me that in Canada, as in the US, the majority of an athlete's training, feeding and upkeep is funded by that athlete and his/her family. Unless Canada is working off a youth sports school development system like China or the former East Bloc nations, the athletes of Canada spend years investing in their sport with no help at all from you, the taxpayer. So yes, you can argue that they owe you something. But your contribution is doled out to a few, and only after years of self-funding, and to me, that means you do not own them, and they don't owe you as much as you think.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:00 PM on January 19

Nice FPP and great comments all around. I've read both sides of the argument and find myself sympathetic to both, quite a quandry for the athlete. I'm currently about finished with some research I've been doing for a column to post here that involves some of the issues discussed in this post and having to do with the marketing and managing of Olympic Athletes. One of the things that I've found, as a common theme expressed by those who are involved with the business side of Olympic Athletics is the evolving nature and multiple pressures, conflicts really, that todays Olympians face outside of their particular event that weren't as prevelant as in the past. There is a constant juggling process between these conflicting interests that can hinder an athletes performances hence market value. As much as we'd like to believe in the "High Olympic Ideal" todays modern Olympian faces a world quite different then the World of 1924 when the 1st Winter Games were held in Chamonix, France or 1908 when figure skating 1st appeared at the summer games in London. Speaking only for myself, I'd just as soon give the benefit of the doubt to the Athlete in this matter, the pressure to perform is tough enough. The conflict expressed in this FPP is a text book example of the complex nature of the non-event related pressures these Athletes face.

posted by skydivedad at 09:41 PM on January 19

Is the athlete's motivation to represent their country and "bring home the Gold?" Or is it to win Olympic Gold and bring home the money? If Olympic athletes stood nothing to gain from winning, other than their medal, I could buy their shunning of the corporate marketing that goes along with today's Olympics. However, when they cash in after winning, I think they need to go along with program before competing. I think it's simple, if they were truly out to represent their country, they should be boasting with pride if they were asked to carry the flag at the opening ceremony. Most other competitions are individual achievements, but the Olympic Games is something that belongs to everybody. Scott Hamilton “It has been said that the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games is something that an athlete will remember for the rest of their life. It is true. That moment when you walk into the Olympic Stadium as part of the Australian Olympic Team, is a moment that I will never forget.” Jeff Fenech quotes What Olympic athlete wouldn't want to be a part of the opening ceremonies? Oh, yeah, one that already had their sights set on something more profitable.

posted by tselson at 10:43 PM on January 19

Is the athlete's motivation to represent their country and "bring home the Gold?" Or is it to win Olympic Gold and bring home the money? If Olympic athletes stood nothing to gain from winning, other than their medal, I could buy their shunning of the corporate marketing that goes along with today's Olympics. However, when they cash in after winning, I think they need to go along with program before competing. Totally wrong. First - if all athletes cared about was the money - they'd carry the flag. It's prestigous. Any agent would tell you the increased profile, however brief, and the addition to your corporate resume are nothing but gold, baby! Second - You, as a Canadian or American or whathaveyou, WANT them to win. Now you're accusing them of focusing too much on winning. Well shit, can't win there.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:21 PM on January 19

If you're Canadian, and you're bitching about your tax dollars going to athletes, have a look at this. Even if you paid a full tax dollar (and to do so you'd need to be the owner of a corporation that imported and exported goods, have bought or used one of every taxed good and service available in the country, and also somehow have been a non-resident as well as a citizen of the country) the contribution you made to funding athletes in general and Olympic athletes in particular still doesn't warrant a specific mention in the overall budget for the last fiscal year. I assume sport funding must be included in the "other" category. A person on an average income will pay something like $6 or $7 grand a year in tax - from that, you probably spent about enough to buy one athlete a beer - as long as it was only a half. I'm assuming that as you come here and actively contribute that you quite like watching sport - seems a small price to pay for all Olympic sport has given you in terms of warm tingly feelings over the years. The argument that these people are in it for the money is ridiculous - there are easier ways to earn such small amounts and most of them don't involve endless commitment to striving for excellence in sports which, by your own admission (red terror), are often obscure. I like what Weedy said - "Canada doesn't just take athletes to the Olympics - the athletes take Canada." - without the athletes, you'd just be sending the precious flag, and (pretty as it is), I don't fancy its chances of bringing home the medals. As for Red Terror's comments about Amateur's credentials - you said it yourself RT - this is the internet - from all Amateur has posted in this link alone you could probably have Googled out who he is by now unless you're completely dim... a possibility your comments thus far are making it hard for me to entirely dismiss. Perhaps the solution to the flag-carrying quandry is to have a national lottery - one tax-payer's name is drawn at random and he/she gets to carry the flag.

posted by JJ at 05:42 AM on January 20

lbb: maybe you can tell me about the funding of Canadian Olympic teams You are correct that the US system is much different -- although there is some public money in the sports system through the NCAA, which is a significant driver of US success -- and you are also correct that the vast majority of a Canadian athlete's lifetime support comes from his or her parents. Elite athletes do receive government funding; if you're interested in the numbers, I've written a not-so-brief Q&A about exactly what an elite athlete in Canada gets, in terms of support. Finally I would point out that the actual trip to the Olympics -- and some training and competition support -- is paid for by the COC, which is not a government agency. Like the USOC, the COC is a private not-for-profit. It has its own money, which it raises through fundraising and licensing of the Olympic brand in Canada.

posted by Amateur at 07:16 AM on January 20

although there is some public money in the sports system through the NCAA, which is a significant driver of US success Actually, it isn't, as far as Olympic success is concerned. The NCAA is the road to the Olympic team in some sports -- track and field, women's hockey, probably women's soccer, women's basketball in a very indirect way -- but for others, such as women's gymnastics, tennis or alpine skiing, competing in the NCAA is a tacit admission that you missed the big time. And, of course, so many Olympic sports don't even have NCAA competition. Your FAQ should take the wind out of a lot of the rhetoric being tossed about regarding all the support that Canadian athletes get from taxpayers -- should, but alas, probably won't.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:24 AM on January 20

Amateur: "I hope that my tax dollars are helping them perform at world-class levels." Fair enough. But conceed for a minute that there are hospital closures in this country, and the tax-payer hears amateur athletes whinge that they're not getting enough handouts to make them "world class." Just wait until the next round of inevitable interviews conducted by Brian Williams, Ron McLean and Teri Leibel with embittered athletes and their coaches bemoaning how little Canadians contribute, and how Australia does a much better job and that we should emulate the Australian system and that requires the government make amateur athletics a higher priority and inject more money, etc., ad nauseum. The fact is, when athletes turn their nose up at the honour of carrying a nation's flag, it's not exactly endearing to the public that sent them there, correct? And the public might feel somewhat aggreived that their contributions are being trivialized, and will in turn be somewhat reluctant to make the Games a priority. (And if there's an Australian athlete that turns up their nose carrying their nations flag in an opening ceremony, I'd like to hear about it.) Above-and-beyond everything else that comprises the reasons why amateur athlete receive funding in the first place, it is the Olympics that generate those handouts. If you eliminate the Games from the equation, the overwhelming majority of citizens would not care about the minnow sports. By contrast, most citizens are concerned about things like their health care and education systems, which suffer the death of a thousand cuts in some regions of this country. I am a staunch supporter of the Games. But I expect the athletes to show a little respect to the ideals of the Games themselves -- not merely the medal podium -- and not show ingratitude to the people that sent them there. The complaints and lack of gratitude is not something that is exclusive to athletes -- we hear it from artists getting tax-payer funded grants too -- and it is certainly not the case with every athlete receiving funds, in fact it may be a vocal minority, but it is undeniable that it happens. And it rankles people.

posted by the red terror at 10:05 AM on January 20

lbb, I am not sure I agree, although I have to admit that my knowledge of the NCAA is pretty superficial. But that superficial look tells me that in summer sports that are not in the NCAA, the US does poorly, in general. This may not be causative, of course, but it's interesting. Also, the US success at the Olympics -- in terms of their huge medal haul -- is very heavily weighted towards athletics and aquatics, where there are a lot of medals available and where, frankly, the US kicks everybody's ass. And those are two sports where the NCAA does a pretty good job of acting as an Olympic feeder system. Of course in winter sports the NCAA is not a big player, but then the US has not been such a dominant force in the winter Olympics, either. Although that's changing. Someday when I am more informed I will make some points about this on my blog; the interesting thing is that funding for the US amateur sport system is very different from anywhere else in the world, to my knowledge.

posted by Amateur at 10:10 AM on January 20

Weedy: "I really have a hard time with the bleacher criticism. I don't think anyone that has worked as hard as Olympic athletes have worked owes, you, John Q. Taxpayer - shit." So, what you are saying is an athlete or an artist can take a tax-payers money and do anything they bloody well please with it, and the tax-payer is supposed to sit around with his thumb up his ass and not be allowed to comment? Sorry, that's not the country I live in. "You want them to represent your country and do well. Canada is so fucked in the back-handed way it supports these athletes it's frustrating. We criticize them for not carrying the flag, taking our money and then having the balls to come in seventh in the world." But of course, I never said that. I said: "Amateur athletes need to understand that the public is invested in them -- sure we'd love to see them win medals, and yes there are grumbles when they fall short. But for the most part, the public respects the athletes that compete, and when the athlete loses, the public is for the most part incredibly forgiving of their sacrifices." Take the lips off the bong before you hit "enter."

posted by the red terror at 10:12 AM on January 20

when athletes turn their nose up at the honour of carrying a nation's flag You keep saying this, and you keep not getting it, even though I and others have explained that it's not a matter of athletes turning up their noses. So let me put it in terms of a simple analogy. Let's suppose you're offered some honor: cutting the ribbon on the opening of the new local school, or something. But the day of the ribbon-cutting ceremony is the day your brother's getting married. Or it's the day your mom is scheduled for some tricky surgery. So you decline. And everyone says, "That ungrateful snot, he's turning up his nose at the honor!" And they're right. Right? That's what your action in declining would be, a turning up of the nose, right? It couldn't be about anything else than a wish to snub those who would honor you, could it? it rankles people. Seems like some people are looking for an excuse to get their underwear in a rankle, rather than taking the action for what it is. You're always on thin ice when you attribute motives to others.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:15 AM on January 20

Well, terror, I agree that the athletes and the COC have very badly misjudged public opinion on this matter; and I agree that public opinion is important (or should be) to amateur athletes who advocate for more public support. I just don't think anybody imagined that this would be thought of as "ingratitude." The athletes think that their job is to go to the Olympics and win medals -- for themselves and for Canada and for all of the people who have supported them along the way. And you have to admit, they get their share of grief, collectively, when they perform poorly. I can tell you that they do worry about that public opinion. Of course the comparison of the amateur sport budget to the health care budget is laughable, but it isn't laughable in the public's mind, and that's important too. Just to give you another perspective on this, though; in the upcoming federal election the conservatives are proposing that the amateur sport budget should be increased to equal 1% of the health care budget.

posted by Amateur at 10:21 AM on January 20

JJ: "As for Red Terror's comments about Amateur's credentials - you said it yourself RT - this is the internet - from all Amateur has posted in this link alone you could probably have Googled out who he is by now unless you're completely dim... a possibility your comments thus far are making it hard for me to entirely dismiss." I really couldn't care less what you think about my intelligence, I simply say what I think. If that hurts or amuses you, knock yourself out. But I stand by my contention, that if you want to put authority behind your voice, then you should not feel so intimidated as to hide your name from those words. In fact, that name may give the words more power. I don't have a problem with forum-users taking nicknames, it's all just fun & games & taking the piss, but when someone has their own website or blog, I just find it very curious that the blogger doesn't use their own name. I really don't see the point of that, nor do I see the point of having to do google searches. In fact, if it's so easy to investigate, then what is the point of using an alias? It ain't exactly "V For Vendetta," if we're looking for authority in our voice we needn't hide behind masks. But that's just me. (Besides, as far as deducing a person's identity via a google search -- let's speculate for a second that I told you I batted .401 in 1941, that I was a world class angler, and that my body parts are floating in a cryogenic chamber somewhere in Arizona. Can you guess who I am? Now -- do you believe that's who I am?) Again, I mean no disresect to Mr. Amateur, nor his bona fides. That is all.

posted by the red terror at 10:26 AM on January 20

(Besides, as far as deducing a person's identity via a google search -- let's speculate for a second that I told you I batted .401 in 1941, that I was a world class angler, and that my body parts are floating in a cryogenic chamber somewhere in Arizona. Can you guess who I am? Now -- do you believe that's who I am?) Well, what the hell? First you were ranking on Amateur for not giving you a name; now you're implying that you wouldn't believe the name if he gave it to you. How can the guy win?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:30 AM on January 20

I think red just likes to play devils advocate. "Canada doesn't just take athletes to the Olympics - the athletes take Canada." Actually its both, you need a country & athletes to compete in the olympics. You don't need a household name athlete to compete, any John Doe that can pass the drug tests will do. You may not win anything but you were represented. 3 words- Jamaican bobsled team

posted by njsk8r20 at 10:55 AM on January 20

guys (and I mean that in a gender-neutral way), ease up on the identity thing. terror is right; there is no way for him to know for certain that I am telling the truth, even if I told him my real name. This isn't a battle of whos credentials are more impressive anyway. Either I can make a convincing argument as Amateur, spofi #2134, or I can't.

posted by Amateur at 10:59 AM on January 20

Seems like some people are looking for an excuse to get their underwear in a rankle, rather than taking the action for what it is. You're always on thin ice when you attribute motives to others. Pot, meet kettle. I'm going to admit ... (deep breath) ... that Amateur has turned me on this to some extent. He's right -- the best way to honour the country is by being in the best possible condition to win a medal to share with your fellow Canadians (or whomever), and the athletes and the coaches know best whether attending the opening ceremonies would put that particular person at a disadvantage. It does rankle, however, because part of the spectacle and enjoyment of the Olympics is seeing your countrymen/women out there smiling and waving, and feeling just the tiniest bit of, "You know, I probably help send that guy there this week," whether through tax dollars, banking at CIBC, etc. Knowing that some athletes (whining or not) want out of that -- well, it might be better for them in the long run, but it comes off as ungrateful in the short term to the unwashed heathens known as the general public. Perhaps a proactive press release from the COC could have headed off a bunch of this by explaining the reasons -- or not. It still is difficult for me to believe that carrying a flag or spending the day at the stadium is totally going to screw things up for a world-class athlete ... but that's just the perception I have, and I'm willing to take Amateur's word for it being a tiring and draining experience. Lastly, my hat is off to both Amateur and R_T. This thread has made me remember exactly what it is that makes SpoFi great -- the chance to put forth my opinions, listening to the calm, polite and well-reasoned arguments of others and adjust my thought processes accordingly. Next Paulaner's on me.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:18 AM on January 20

wfjr, I agree that it's a stirring spectacle -- I always watch it. If I were an Olympic athlete, I'm sure I'd want to be there. But I also can see myself possibly making the prudent decision not to stay up until 4 a.m. if I had to compete the next day. And if I did so, it wouldn't be a matter of turning up my nose -- it would be something I decided with much regret, I'm sure.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:29 AM on January 20

I just want to echo wfrazerjr's last comment that this is a great place to talk about sports. Don Cherry is a loudmouthed rabble-rouser; but there are some obviously intelligent people here who have opened my eyes to a different point of view.

posted by Amateur at 11:43 AM on January 20

"Just to give you another perspective on this, though; in the upcoming federal election the conservatives are proposing that the amateur sport budget should be increased to equal 1% of the health care budget." An admirable goal, and it would be nice if that percentage for Olympians could be matched dollar-for-dollar by the COC. And of course, a cynic like myself could say that Harper is playing the political opportunist making promises at precisely the same time as an election is looming days away from the opening of the Winter Olympics, and that he needs votes in British Columbia, oh and guess what -- the following Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver. And Harper could actually believe and mean what he says, and if elected, he might even fulfill the promise. Then again, Jack Layton could equally point out that 1% of Canada's health care system could be the equivalent of a new rural medical center in each province and territory. I've been around too long to hold my breath expecting politicians to keep promises. But again, that's just me.

posted by the red terror at 11:46 AM on January 20

"I think red just likes to play devils advocate." Not at all. I may be an agent provocateur, but I have convictions and stand behind everything I say. Otherwise it would be a pointless waste of yours and my time. I have better things to do than piss away my life for the point of pissing-off other people. And I do conceed that in many of the editorial jobs I have had, I've received a ton of hate mail, and that's the nature of the game. Ya gots ta have a thick skin. It's one of the reasons why I regularly tune in to what Don Cherry says, not because I agree with him, nor because I am eager to be outraged, but because he's not a milque-toast wussie, he says what he believes and lays it on the line. And yes, I have actually engaged in several torrid debates with Cherry over the years -- mostly written, and he always responds -- but at the end of the day I always respect him for being a man and not shying away from saying what he believes. If people expect this website to be a log-rolling popularity contest of yes-men and me-too-ism, then perhaps I am in the wrong place, because it's not what I expect.

posted by the red terror at 11:54 AM on January 20

Lastly, my hat is off to both Amateur and R_T here here.

posted by garfield at 12:03 PM on January 20

If people expect this website to be a log-rolling popularity contest of yes-men and me-too-ism, then perhaps I am in the wrong place, because it's not what I expect. ...and it (the web-site) would be very boring. This discussion kind of reminds me of the post 9/11 america. If you didn't have a 4 ft american flag on your car then you were unpatriotic. For some reason you had to have these visual displays to prove you were patriotic. As a free society we can choose how to show our patriotism. I do it by paying my taxes, being a law abiding citizen, voting and showing up for jury duty. I do not believe that an athlete who chooses to not attend the ceremonies is unpatriotic, but would rather show thier patriotism on the proverbial battlefeild.

posted by njsk8r20 at 12:57 PM on January 20

there are some obviously intelligent people here who have opened my eyes to a different point of view. Oops, you fucked up. That's not the point of arguing on the Internet.

posted by yerfatma at 01:15 PM on January 20

So, what you are saying is an athlete or an artist can take a tax-payers money and do anything they bloody well please with it, and the tax-payer is supposed to sit around with his thumb up his ass and not be allowed to comment? Sorry, that's not the country I live in. No - I'm saying that they take very little money and do exactly what you want them to do with it - use it to propel themselves to be the best they can, and you, and the general public, will never be satisfied with it because they don't want to jeopardize the use of all that taxpayer money by participating in a glorifed television event for the sponsors that may affect their ability to perform the day after, or two days after (which is the case with 5 of the 6 people who requested NOT TO BE NOMINATED (No one has turned down the flag). You seem to want your cake and eat it too. I mean, we're all aware that a significant percentage of the people on the Canadian team that participate in the Opening Ceremonies are the medical staff, trainers and coaches (who recieve little glory for thier participation and in many cases give up a month or two of their regular careers to make our greedy, smug athletes richer - cynical, much?).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:16 PM on January 20

Oops, you fucked up. That's not the point of arguing on the Internet. Sorry, I haven't been here that long.

posted by Amateur at 01:26 PM on January 20

"You seem to want your cake and eat it too." Yes, exactly. That's what I do when I bake a cake. I let it cool down, and then I nosh on it. Yeah, it's pretty to look at, but more delicious when you eat it. Even better when there's a bag of weed laying on the table beforehand. I not only want to look at that bag and hold that bag, I want to empty the contents and twirl a big fattie. Why waste it? So much better to consume and enjoy the pleasure of both. Damn straight I want to eat it. Mmmm.

posted by the red terror at 01:26 PM on January 20

So much better to consume and enjoy the pleasure of both. I fear you may have missed the dilemma.

posted by yerfatma at 03:22 PM on January 20

I expect the athletes to show a little respect to the ideals of the Games themselves Since when were the Olympic ideals encapsulated by flag waving and smiling for the tax payer?

posted by JJ at 03:44 PM on January 20

the following Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver. This is gonna be an awesome venue. Just sayin'.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:28 PM on January 20

"Since when were the Olympic ideals encapsulated by flag waving and smiling for the tax payer?" I never said that, did I? I wrote that there are expectations of athletes -- from the public that sends the athletes, and from the IOC itself -- that the athlete honours the ideals of the IOC charter, the NOC (funded by the tax-payer), and the host city & nation. Now, as much as I love the competitive action, you can read the Olympic Charter and think it a fascist manifesto or a cult. But when a nation and an athlete buys into the Olympic Games, they are putting their signatures committing themselves to those ideals. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the consequences to a NOC if its athlete en masse began putting their self-interest ahead of the charter. The Opening Ceremony is used not merely to start the athletic competion, but moreover to introduce and re-establish the values and ideals of those Games as set forth in the Charter. The Opening Ceremony is also by-far the single most watched event of the Games. More viewers around the world will see Canadians participating in the Opening Ceremony than during any other event. If athletes want to participate in the Olympic Games, there is a very explicit expectation and responsibility to their participation, and they need to keep in mind the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter and its rules, since they sign off on them as part of their participation. The athlete is not only expected to engage in contests, he is also expected to promote the values and ideals of the Olympics. Members of the public are not unreasonable to expect the same: Fundamental Principles of Olympism 1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. 2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity. [...] 6. Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC. The Olympic Movement and its Actions Rule 1. Composition and General Organisation of the Olympic Movement 1. Under the supreme authority of the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Movement encompasses organisations, athletes and other persons who agree to be guided by the Olympic Charter. The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values. [...] Rule 2. Mission and Role of the IOC The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement. The IOC's role is: [...] 3. to ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games; 4. to cooperate with the competent public and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace; 5. to take action in order to strengthen the unity and to protect the independence of the Olympic Movement; [...] 14. to promote a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the host cities and host countries; 15. to encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education; [...] Rule 5. Olympic Solidarity Bye-law to Rule 5 The objectives of the programmes adopted by Olympic Solidarity are to contribute: 1. to promote the Fundamental Principles of Olympism; [...] 10. to urge governments and international organizations to include sport in officials development assistance. [..] II. PARTICIPATION IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES Rule 41. Eligibility Code To be eligible for participation in the Olympic Games, a competitor must comply with the Olympic Charter. [...] Rule 45. Invitations and Entries [...] 2. Any entry is subject to acceptance by the IOC, which may at its discretion, at any time, refuse any entry, without indication of grounds. Nobody is entitled to any right of any kind to participate in the Olympic Games. [...] Bye-law to Rule 45 1. The IOC Executive Board determines the number of all participants in the Olympic Games. [...] 6. Any participant in the Olympic Games in whatever capacity must sign the following declaration: "Understanding that, as a participant in the Olympic Games, I am participating in an exceptional event which has ongoing international and historical significance, and in consideration of the acceptance of my participation therein, I agree to be filmed, televised, photographed, identified and otherwise recorded during the Olympic Games under the conditions and for the purposes now and hereafter authorised by the International Olympic Committee ("IOC") in relation to the promotion of the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement. "I also agree to comply with the Olympic Charter currently in force, in particular, withy the provisions of the Olympic Charter regarding eligibility for the Olympic Games (including Rule 41 and its Bye-law), and the mass media (Rule 51)." [...] III. PROGRAMME OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES Rule 51. Media Coverage of the Olympic Games 1. The IOC takes all necessary steps in order to ensure the fullest coverage by the different media and the widest possible audience in the world for the Olympic Games. [...] Bye-law to Rule 51 1. It is an objective of the Olympic Movement that, through its contents, the media coverage of the Olympic Games should spread and promote the principles and values of Olympism. [...] "Since when were the Olympic ideals encapsulated by flag waving and smiling for the tax payer?"

posted by the red terror at 10:04 AM on January 21

Could somebody summarize that in a few sentances?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:24 AM on January 21

Lastly, my hat is off to both Amateur and R_T. This thread has made me remember exactly what it is that makes SpoFi great -- the chance to put forth my opinions, listening to the calm, polite and well-reasoned arguments of others and adjust my thought processes accordingly. Group hug! (And I mean it.) Oops, you fucked up. That's not the point of arguing on the Internet. Thanks god for yerfatma. I was getting teary-eyed, now I'm all out crying.

posted by qbert72 at 12:30 PM on January 21

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