I am a sports loving person. I like to stay fit and for that, I indulge myself in various sporting activities. I also do enjoy watching sports but not purely for entertainment or for mindless fan following. I enjoy watching it because I love some games and follow them closely to get amazed by the new feats achieved by the sports-persons involved in them. For Example: I love playing basketball and had been following NBA since a long time. By that I mean since the times of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I am fascinated to see how the standards of this game have come up over the years.
Without getting much into what I do, let me focus more on the actual topic of this post. The latest buzz word in town right now is the mother of all sporting events, The Olympic Games of 2012 in London. It’s one of the oldest mega-event of sports which is truly international enduring the highest standards. Getting an Olympic gold is the epitome of all competitions for a sportsperson. It’s the holy grail of medals in a sportsperson’s life. There is no doubt that these games have become bigger and grander over the years. One of the reasons is that more and more money has been pumped into these games over the years by sponsors which definitely raises the standards of the games and the participants. Because of the increase in the magnitude of these games, security has also become another issue to be dealt with around the games (both for participants and the audience).
Now, I am neither a socialist nor an idealist. The above mentioned two aspects of these games this time had been disturbing me for a while so I thought of venting it out here.
I totally agree with the need of security around events of such magnitude but at the same time I feel there should be some humanity and sanity involved while arranging for it. On the contrary, the things I had been reading in the news sound much more like tyranny to me. News like deploying a ground-based air missile systems in residential areas, deploying acoustic devices which emits pain inducing tones to disperse a mob, deploying 3,500 extra UK military personnel for Olympic security after a private security firm failed to deliver its agreement. It really makes me sad reading all of this. Are we not perpetrating a culture of fear amongst the masses with all this?
I don’t want to compromise the security of anyone but I think there should be a limit to all this. I mean there is even a wiki pagededicated to the security around the games. To me, it looks more like preparing for a battlefield or a military zone than Olympic Games. If we are really living in such a scared world, then it makes me think whether we really need such games? Rather than concentrating on such games why not use our efforts and energy to first make this world a better place to host such events. All this security hoopla makes me think that we are trying to take medicines for a disease without actually diagnosing it properly and hitting the root cause.
The other aspect of the games which disturbs me is the amount of money involved. Like I mentioned above, I totally accept that it is needed for raising the standards of the game and also the local economy. But then again, I read some disturbing news around this topic, especially an article on the current state of venues in Beijing prepared forOlympics last time. Except the main stadium much of other venues are almost nonexistent or unusable for the benefits of local people. I mean is it really worth putting in so much money for something which would be discarded at the end?
My major source of concern with the money issue is to see some big sponsors endorsing the games and athletes with businesses which have nothing to do with sports. A big burger company chain and the biggest supplier of aerated sugar drinks are one of the biggest sponsors for these games. I hope you must have figured out the name of the companies yourself. I always used to chuckle after seeing pictures and logos of these companies at sporting events and used to say to myself, oh – what a paradox?! I also used to wonder why the mainstream media never talk about such things. Then finally last week, I read one such article stating how big and paradoxical role these companies are playing to sponsor such sporting events. I mean how you can justify a burger company and a sugar drinks company promoting a sporting event when it has been shown again and again how unhealthy those products are for people. Will those athletes actually consume those products to stay healthy and competitive for such events?
It is not just the immorality showcased around such sponsorships but like the article also states it is way how the Olympic copyright bans are being forcefully imposed on normal people. I also understand that the companies throwing so much money for sponsorship would like to gain the most from it but there should be a limit to the greed. A complete monopoly on even the Olympic logo is quite disheartening for me. Are we really not losing the actual spirit behind such an ancient sporting event by overindulging in sponsorships? The most appalling for me was this story of banning an 81 year old woman, knitting Olympic jersey for dolls only for charity. I hope that a healthy debate is carried out in the future on such topics by the organizing committees to keep up the spirit of the games. Otherwise, I think we are very close to organizing prelims for the Hunger Games in the future.
Even with all these concerns in mind, I still look forward to the Games in high spirit and hope to see some records slashed! At the same time I would like to wish best of luck to the India Olympic team!