Sunday, August 16, 2009
Teed off with the Olympics.
I've taken a while getting to this topic because I haven't been able to decide how I feel about squash and the Olympics.
It’s a fact that I love squash. I want everyone I know to step on court and try it, meet the people and fall in love with the game. The WSF has been telling squashies that having our game in the Olympics may just help achieve growth in the numbers of people playing and, at the very least, bring global awareness to the game. That would be nice.
The problem is, I live in Vancouver, the city to next host the Olympics, and I’m learning first-hand what the Olympics is mostly about. While the IOC talks of "universal moral principles" not a day goes by that we don't hear about concessions being made to the IOC or restrictions being placed on the citizenry of Vancouver to ensure that the Olympics makes for good global TV viewing.
The Vancouver Sun’s Daphne Bramham reports, in her article entitled "Rights go out the window to create a seamless 2010 circus" that “Vancouver’s council recently passed an omnibus bylaw amending dozens of existing laws. Among the changes are the creation of so-called free-speech zones and blocks of the city… where no political pamphlets, leaflets, graffiti or 'non-celebratory posters' will be allowed. The mayor still insists that the whole city is a free speech zone, but at the very least, citizens are confused by the disconnect."
Wow. That just doesn't sound like something I want to be involved in. What happened to bringing "people together in peace to respect universal moral principles"? (That's a direct quote.)
I don't pretend to know why squash won't be involved until after 2016. I wasn’t there and just contemplating the backroom dealings make me feel cynical which isn't good for the soul. But you can't avoid the obvious: Alan Thatcher, writing on SquashStars.com, hits the nick when he says that "the IOC places higher value on commercial success than sporting integrity."
(Just a last note: If you like the image used in this blog and want to use it for something you're doing drop me a line - firstname.lastname@example.org. It's an original so don't just swipe it and remove the copyright line, k? Thanks:)