In a few short days time the biggest sporting event in the world begins. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio De Janerio Brazil.
Otherwise known as The Olympics.
As a child with limited (read as none!) screen time. Events like this were a godsend. The tv was on all day practically. A child’s dream. Endless TV! Back then we only had Three, yes that’s right Three channels. So whilst the games were on, there wasn’t much else on anyway.
I remember my first Olympics. Los Angeles 1984. Carl Lewis equalled Jesse Owens record of Four Gold medals in one games. Daley Thompson showed true grit and class to triumph over 10 events and two days to take decathlon Gold. Then there was Seb Coe and Ed Moses. All who set the track and world on fire. A youthful Steven Redgrave, possibly the greatest Olympian of all time won his first Gold.
There aren’t athletes like these anymore!
Yes we’ve had The Dream Team grace the games, Jordan, Eweing and Co. Michael Johnson won a remarkable middle distance double the 200 and 400. Michael Phelps made the pool his own and of course there is Ussain Bolt.
None of these will compare to those men and women of the 84 games. Why? Because they were the last amateur games. In 1987 the IOC voted to allow professional athletes to compete in three sports. It wasn’t long before it was open to all professional sports.
No longer was it men like Eric Liddel who refused to run on the Sunday because of his religious beliefs.
There is something about an athlete who competes for the love of the sport, not for financial gain. Who fits training and competition around a full time job.
I understand the world has changed. Big money, sponsorship and the public’s desire to see the best meant the Olympics had to go let professionals compete.
I can’t help but think that was when some of the Olympic ideals were lost.
I’d love my kids to remain playing sports throughout life. Are they at all concerned with wether someone runs for the love of the game or money? I think not.
Do you think I’m being sentimental? Does the influx of money into sport improve it? World records certainly get broken.