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On the topic of mental olympics, didn't anyone else (in the US only, I think) compete in 'Olympics of the Mind' as a kid? I think they later changed the name to 'Odyssey of the Mind' (OM).

As for the 'real' Olympics, I haven't really watched them since '84 (when I was too young to notice a lot of the things that may well have been present then but are certainly present now), for a number of reasons:

  • Splitting the winter and summer games into different years makes it too frequent to be noteworthy.
  • I think they are used as an excuse to promote nationalistic fervor, which I think encourages viewing other countries as the enemy (I'd prefer it if people just competed against people, with country being irrelevant).
  • Such serious competition isn't good for the participants anyhow. I seem to recall hearing reports of them dying a few years later while still fairly young from the damage caused by training/fluid deprivation/drugs/whatever. By the time you compete at that level, you don't have good, balanced health. It can be argued that anyone who would do that to her/himself for a medal has the kind of personality that would do it regardless, but why should such people be encouraged and admired?
  • The advertising has become more prevalant and the 'exclusive' concept further reduces viewers into not just consumers, but infant consumers who need protection from the big, bad world.
  • Watching sports bores me.
  • The reported corruption of the Olympics committee in determining location and in reacting towards drug use just adds to the silliness of the whole thing.
  • The limitations imposed on coverage don't help to credit the concept of a world coming together to celebrate blah blah blah... It just reduces interest in the event.
  • The coverage in the US is pathetic, from what I've heard. I haven't watched any coverage so I can't really rate it myself. In attempting to pull heartstrings to increase interest--by telling about someone who overcame paralysis, cancer, bad breath and ebola to come in second-to-last in the 800 cm sprint with a time of 2 hours, 45 minutes and 4.3 seconds, bravely beating her arch-rival (since the '76 games) due to said arch-rival (who is also the hero's second-cousin twice removed) being disqualified because she fell over the line before the gun went off due to a drug-induced heart attack--all the network does is desensitize people to the point that impending nuclear war wouldn't rouse some from their apathy.
  • I've never understood why professionals are barred from participating. Either it should be about the 'best', in which case they should allow professionals, or it should be about amateurs, in which case it shouldn't be possible for some countries to put lots of money into training. Maybe they should just pick participants randomly.

It might be hard to believe that I dislike anything more than the Olympics, but I vastly prefer them over the European football games earlier this year, which had the added disadvantage of 'being in my backyard', which meant I had to witness the insanity.

In reply to (kudra: OM and Olympics--) RE(3): I watch the Olympics by kudra
in thread I watch the Olympics by vroom

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