Major sporting events are corrupt and corrupting

AirShowFan sez, "Insightful article about the protests in Brazil, which make clear that it's absurd for a government to spend billions in public funds for sports tournaments that (a) bring no clear benefits to the country and (b) violate citizens' rights. Boing Boing readers will be familiar with the many unreasonable demands made by the International Olympic Committee to their hosts, from restricted use of the word 'Olympic' to disallowing political speech. (The article recaps these issues by describing the trials of people who violated such rules during the recent World Cup in South Africa). Key take-away: If current trends continue, these games will soon only agree to be hosted by the (hopefully decreasing) number of nations with overly authoritative regimes."


  1. I’m not sure we need to kill the Olympics entirely, but the IOC seems to get worse every year and really needs to be stopped.  There’s way too much money in the Olympics now, and the corrupting influence is not unlike that of the One Ring.  

    Would it really be so bad to just have one (or maybe two, one for summer one for winter) venue that you use every time?  Maybe put it in Greece for historical reasons.  It would eliminate the rampant bribery from nations to the IOC every 4 years to get them to host the Olympics in their country, and would greatly reduce the waste in building new stadiums every time there is a new Olympics. 

    1. The Boy Scouts of America figured this out years ago and now hold their National Jamborees at one common site. Although, the World Jamboree still travels. Although, there’s very little to build for a Jamboree when compared to a sporting event.

      1. Yeah, other than bathroom facilities and a couple of stages it doesn’t seem like there is that much infrastructure for a Jamboree.  You mostly need a big field to pitch tents in and some space for the various events.

        1. Doesn’t that kind of reinforce the point though? If it’s wildkly more cost effective for a Jamboree – with it’s trivial infrastructure needs – to set up in a fixed location, how much more beneficial would it be for the Olympics?

          1. Benefits for the Olympics themselves are secondary (at most) to the benefits for the members of the IOC.

          2. Aren’t most of the benefits for the monopolistic corporate sponsors and the corrupt officials who take their bribes?

          3.  Don’t forget the local politicians and business “leaders”. When we bid on them here there was a lot of land bought up around Olympic sites before they announced where they would even be….  another public figure who was close to the mayor and knee deep in shady land dealings “shot himself” in the head and ended up floating in the river downtown…

    2. Greece? You mean that country that went bankrupt partly because of the Olympics?

      1. If they could recoup some money from the investment every few years it might not be such a bad investment in the first place.

  2. Have sporting-infrastructure projects(from stadia at public expense for whiny private teams, up to full on World Cup and Olympic events) ever been anything but a massive screwjob for the suckers who have the misfortune to live around them?

  3. It’s worse than bringing no clear benefits. The Olympics is a mild case compared to other sports. In Britain, the soccer yabbos don’t even bother going to the games, they make murderous attacks on the fans of out of town teams arriving at the train stations. The police arrested some of these guys and found that the yabbos couldn’t even name the star players of the teams they were supposedly supporting. It’s kind of like religion minus: onward christian soldiers without the afterlife.

    1.  I’m all for a Cromwell-stylee ban on the footer, like. Either that, or nationalise it and bring in local catchment areas for teams. Oh, and wage-caps.

  4. I am not a sports fan in the slightest, but I like the Olympics quite a bit (though I don’t follow it particularly closely). 

    It’s become an insanely corrupt and over-expensive clusterfuck, but the mythical Olympic spirit tends to shine through in the actual competition. It needs massive overhaul – rethinking from the ground up, other than the actual events which are fine as they are – but I think it’s important to keep. I even feel the same way about the World Cup, though it’s less about “pure” sportsmanship (at least in theory).

    It’s just one more unfortunate side effect of the blooming world population that events like these become increasingly difficult to manage. It is not necessary for so much money to be involved and so many disadvantages to local populations to be incurred, of course, but that is the easier course than managing things properly which is why it happens. 

    1.  The IOC have in one fell swoop rendered the Olympics a hollow joke by deciding to get rid of wrestling. The ancient Greeks are collectively rolling over in their graves.

  5. Funneling public cash and assets into private hands at the expense of the most vulnerable. A story as old as time. Have any of these stadium deals ever not screwed taxpayers? 

    Right now our “liberal” mayor is closing public schools (read poor kids) because there’s no funds for them (not true)  while at the same time calling for taxpayer money to build a sports arena for a private religious university: middle class/well off kids..

  6. I  consider any endeavour where you are expected to move a ball around on a patch of grass utterly beneath contempt.

      1.  Well, at least you get either a broom, a stick, or a big fuck-off rock to defend yourself with.

  7. If current trends continue, these games will soon only agree to be
    hosted by the (hopefully decreasing) number of nations with overly
    authoritative regimes.

    So, like, the USA, for example.

    1. The next two World Cups after Brazil are in Russia and Qatar, so we’re pretty much there already.

  8. There is a certain similarity between hosting the Olympics and the old “biker gangs take over a small town!” movies of the 60s (50s?70s?).

    1. Only without the moonshine, rough sex and Tura Satana. So what’s the point?

      1. Well, the 50s/60s/70s were a bit more staid. I’m sure if you made “biker gangs take over a small town!” movie now it’d include all those things, and be /exactly/ like hosting the Olympics.

        1. The bikers that I see these days are mostly podgy CPAs and Methodist ministers.

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