“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” – Coubertin-Talbot maxim
Uh huh. I wonder what Pierre de Coubertin would think if he saw the Olympics today. Yahoo Sports recently posted an article titled, “Bangladesh is the largest nation to never win a medal, but it has four athletes in London,” in which, Martin Rogers writes,
Bangladesh is home to more that 152 million people, making it the eighth most populated country in the world, yet its Olympic futility is so bad it makes one wonder if a statistical mistake has been made.
Bangladesh, sandwiched between northeastern Indian and Myanmar, has never won a single medal at the Olympic Games and is unlikely to do anything to change that tortured record over the next few weeks.
Of the International Olympic Committee’s 204 members, 80 have never medaled.
FORTY per cent of the countries that compete in the Olympics have never medaled! Check out this chart put together by NBC Sports, which shows that the United States has won over 2300 medals all-time, and the next closest competition is the Soviet Union with 1122 medals. Does anyone else find it troubling that the only competition that America has is a union that no longer exists?
Let’s call a spade a spade. The Olympics is just an extravagant country club party for the haves to show off and for the have-nots to be grateful for the invitation. Professor Jay Coakley’s blog also touches on the subject adding that “another 51 [countries] claim less than 5 medals in Olympic history. Some nations have not won a medal for at least 40 years.” Is this because those countries just suck or are the scales heavily tipped in the favour of others? Perhaps, Pierre de Coubertin, founding father of the Olympic games, had great foresight because most nations do not compete – they merely take part. I have heard the argument that there is something to be said for putting on a spectacle. I would argue that the spectacle is not the extravagance that surrounds the Games, but the ridiculous discrepancy that exists between the competitors. It is not a discrepancy of talent or of will, but of resources.
Sure, women have come a long way in the world of sports and perhaps the Olympics is one of the best examples of that; but we must ask WHICH women are represented? WHICH women get the tv time? WHICH women get the magazine spreads? WHICH women are still missing from the picture. I’m sure De Coubertin probably hates that women are competing at all since, rumor has it, he never believed that women should participate; but, I wonder if there really is such a thing as one true essence/spirit of the Olympics. Is equality the spirit or is it a celebration of dominance? Was commercialization of the Games inevitable? Personally, I would like it to be a celebration of human movement; but, that doesn’t sell advertising rights or keychains, does it?