Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here's Something to Consider About the Olympics and Golf

There have been some amazing moments in this year's Olympics. From an American standpoint, you'd have to point to Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin as the highlights. But, there has been a huge cloud (not of just smog) surrounding these games in Beijing. The Olympics conceded the games to Beijing based upon an empty promise from the Communist Party there that they would use this as an opportunity to improve social and economic conditions for all and better civil liberties.

Two recent pieces (here and here) that I read detail more than I need to here about the fakeness of that promise. The International Olympic Committee had good reason to be suspicious of China's promises but awarded them the games anyway. They chose money over social conscience.

It is through that lens that I ask you to see the bid to have golf in the Olympics. Golf could make a lot of money for the Olympics, if Tiger Woods is involved. The IOC sees that and has demanded that a competition of Olympic golf would include professionals (presumably Woods). The folks representing golf - good luck, Ty Votaw - cannot make a promise to have Woods appear. If the IOC sees that, they will turn down golf.

Basically, the IOC is thinking about itself and how it can make money and make itself seem more grand. It is not really about preserving the sanctity of sport. Hell, the Chinese are cheating and we all know it. People are speculating about cheating in Jamaican track and field. I'm sure there are other instances too. Does golf want to get involved with all of that?

Golf - despite its corporate ties and past history of racism and sexism - is better than that.

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