Olympics Games are fun watch. Many accomplished athletes count on winning the Olympics to seal their careers. Environmentalists say the Olympic Games are a recipe for environmental disaster.
sI’ve always thought the 1980 and 1984 Olympic athletes — American or otherwise — really got the shit end of the stick. I’m also glad that Jesse Owens, the African American gold medalist runner at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, didn’t. I almost (and I say almost because I’m Jewish, so a trip to Nazi Germany hardly sounds appealing to me) wish I’d been there to see the look on Hitler’s face. Must’ve been priceless.
It takes a special kind of person to become an Olympic athlete. I know, because for a long time, I wanted it, but I just didn’t have it in me. From a young age, I was a gymnast first and a kid second. I ate, slept, went to school and trained, and then the next day, I did it all over again. I competed in Mexico and Guatemala and Cuba and Israel, and I don’t remember there ever being a day when something didn’t hurt. The gym smelled like home; my teammates were my sisters.
In the end, I (obviously) didn’t make it. I quit when I was 14, before I even had the chance to try. And although sometimes this bums me out, it gives me some peace of mind, too, knowing that this is nobody’s fault but my own.
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Boycotting the Olympics, whatever the reason, is unfair to the athletes. Life is unfair, yes, but to these sportsmen and women, missing the Olympic Games is much more than getting laid off from a job or losing money to an internet scam. The Olympics are who they are, what they are. And not going for any reason other than their own shortcomings is just unimaginable.
No, for many, there won’t be other Olympics. This is their only chance. In the world of sports, every day is precious. An hour can make all the difference between a peak performance and a career-ending injury.
And what about those that do compete? What about those that win? Their victories will be forever stained. In the gymnastics world, American Mary Lou Retton’s 1984 Olympic gold medal is kind of a laugh. “Well, she wouldn’t have won if the Soviets had been there,” the fans say. I’ve said it too.
Discrimination of any kind is deplorable. Racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamism, homophobia, sexism, whatever — these are all against everything that the Olympic movement stands for. Hatred is unacceptable. It should be especially unacceptable at the Olympic Games.
I don’t know what the solution is. But it’s not a boycott. At this stage, the 2014 Olympics probably cannot be moved elsewhere. In the future, the IOC might want to consider a country’s human rights record before accepting an Olympic bid. For now, though, we must ensure that the LGBT athletes will feel safe. We must ensure that prospective Olympians, gay or straight or anything in between, don’t miss out on a lifelong dream because of some idiots sitting around at the Kremlin.
And who knows, maybe the the LGBT sports community will bring home a gold medal or two, just so we can all rub it in Putin’s face.