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IOC Monday August 13, 2012

IOC

Like most of you out there, I'm a fan of the Olympic games. However I do have some minor issues with the way the Games are run, and some MAJOR issues with the IOC.

You see, I grew up in the days when the East Germans and Soviets and others did everything they could to cheat their way to the top. And, sadly, notwithstanding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, those kinds of cheating and doping and judging problems are still going on. This year has already seen several athletes thrown out for doping violations.

Secondly, I have seen too many cities and states go into considerable debt to fund the Olympics in their city. Montreal Canada is still paying off the debt from the 1976 Olympics, even as chunks of the Olympic stadium decay and crumble. Thirdly, any semblance of sportsmanship that the Olympics were supposed to foster and encourage are long gone. Personally, I was disgusted watching the US basketball "Dream Team" in Barcelona. Where's the sportsmanship in a group of multi-millionaire professionals beating Angola by 68 points?

Next, I don't believe in competition between nations. There is enough strife, animosity and competition between countries, that I don't believe in providing another avenue for it. If it's simply good natured and friendly competition, then the medal count shouldn't be so important. But it is. This is just another extension of our "us and them" mentality. Instead, the games should be more about promoting solidarity, brotherhood, and mutual respect amongst nations.

What does the medal count really prove? That rich nations with large populations can produce more medal winners than smaller, poorer nations. That professional athletes can usually beat amateurs. That for some reason Jamaican athletes seem to run faster for short distances than anyone else in the world and Kenyan athletes seem to run faster for long distances. So what?

Lastly, and most importantly, have you ever heard of the IOC? Of course you have. It's the International Olympic Committee and it is a multi-billion dollar business. NBC alone paid the IOC $1.2 Billion to broadcast the London Summer Olympics and that doesn't count all the money paid by all other TV networks around the world, as well as companies like McDonalds, Coca Cola, Nike and others that pay, and pay big, for the right to use the IOC's logo and call themselves "Official Sponsors".

The IOC is supposed to be a non-profit organization. So where do all of these billions go? I don't know and I really haven't been able to find out. I checked the IOC website. I did a Google search. I even asked my friends. No one knew. It doesn't go to put on the Games - they're paid for by the host city or country. It doesn't go to support the athletes while they're training, nor does it go for prize money. It doesn't go to pay for the lavish trips that IOC members take around the world, where they're wined and dined by prospective host cities wishing to get the future Games. So where does it go?

We're told that the IOC is non-profit organization but the 2010 financial statement I was able to find online showed assets of $2.3 Billion and not a lot of explanation of where it spends its money. The Olympics are a great global event, but this is a huge industry run by self-appointed individuals that answer to no one - no one but themselves that is.