Now, I know there are some FtBers who don’t much care about the Olympics. They are, of course, wrong.

So this is a pro-Olympics thread, where y’all can throw your observations. I’ll also just tuck a little Olympian eye candy in here–I have not yet managed to make it to the Olympic games, but I did race (and lose) at the Olympic stadium. Not an Olympic stadium, the stadium at Olympia.
Here. As always, click to embiggen.

Between that site and this one…

…is where the Olympic torch is lit, at the Temple of Hera, every four (well, two) years.

Connected to the site is a stunning archeological museum, which has had to withstand the fires a few years ago, and of course the economic downturn more recently.


  1. grumpyoldfart says

    …where the Olympic torch is lit, at the Temple of Hera…

    Some people think the ceremony goes all the way back to ancient Greece, but it was invented by a Nazi named Carl Diem who organised the ceremony and the torch relay as a PR stunt for the Berlin Games.

  2. kraut says

    I don’t have a clue why anybody would be supporting an event where the strings are pulled by a corrupt organization that is accountable to no one, where the host country gets into debt to the tune of at least several hundred millions with not much to show for, where as in Vancouver, Calgary,Beijing etc. those living on the margins get pushed around for the benefits of the games, we are left with facilities that are often useless and of no market value afterwards, where the whole idiotic show of over specialized athletes getting funded by us for achievements measured in split seconds and millimeters….

    am I really the only one that finds this concept of the olympics totally nuts?

  3. embertine says


    You may be amused to note, Cuttle, that having said I’m “taking August off”, I got made redundant from my former landscaping company with my official last day being the 31st July. Heheh.

    In the intervening week, however, I’ve got work with another outfit, where I’m… pricing the Olympics transformation works.

    O My Mistress, thy name is Irony.

  4. sailor1031 says


    “am I really the only one that finds this concept of the olympics totally nuts?”

    No. It is just warfare by other means……

  5. Cuttlefish says

    Why, yes, warfare. Just look at the body count.

    Don’t worry, you’ll find others at FtB who agree with you.

  6. joel says

    Why do you presume that one would worry unless others at FtB agree? If many others happen to agree with me, that’s when I start to worry. FtB, Freethoughtblog, yes?

    I don’t attend the church of extreme competition. Yes physical exercise is good for us, but too much involves injury; physical as well as sometimes emotional.

    Wake me up when the Olympics of Co-operation appears on the teeveee.

  7. joel says

    There are several sentiments that may lay behind the question “Am I the only one…?”

    I think you still presume the sentiment was worry. I think it fair to take it literally as curiosity unless Sailor indicates otherwise.

    Sailor, are you scared to be alone or just curious?

  8. kraut says

    “I think you still presume the sentiment was worry”

    not so much worry – but a matter of: did “critical thinking” get blown out of the water by a well managed show and the enthusiasm of billions…

  9. Cuttlefish says

    joel, I suspect you are giving my comment #5 too literal a reading. “Don’t worry” is a colloquialism; it need not imply an assumption of genuine fear.

    Meanwhile, back in the world of those who enjoy the games, I’m watching three different events simultaneously, sports I only get to enjoy every four years. I’ve had 2 former olympians as students; their experience is my filter here. Others can look at the corporate influence; I’m watching dedicated athletes enjoying a competition most of them have no hopes of winning, and enjoying it no less for that.

  10. joel says

    By the way, I use the phrase ‘the church of extreme competition’ advisedly.

    When one lets go of the big gods the urge to idolize, look up to, praise, etc.does not necessarily lessen. We still like to have our heroes, famous skeptic etc. I dunno what it does for us these days.

    Am I the only one thinks about this? Gotta go now, hope the thread carries on.

  11. rq says

    I enjoy the Olympics because I get to see my country’s name on a TV screen in a positive light – local news are otherwise all-too-depressing. (Just beat Germany in beach volleyball. Yeah!)

    Are the fancy new facilities and national debts necessary? No, it could all be done in more ordinary venues.
    But those seconds and milliseconds are extremely important to some of those athletes, especially those who don’t have too many other platforms to compete against others in the world due to a lack of funding in their home country. Sometimes the only place they have to show off is in a corrupt and over-blown event like the Olympics, because that’s about the only event their home country sees as important enough to grant them funding to actually make it there. It really does mean a lot to them, and also to the national pride of the country they represent.
    Not all of those athletes out there can afford to spend all their time at training and buying all the best trainers and specialists. A lot of them have day jobs, which leave them with little time to train on a level that would put them in contention with those who DO come from financially generous countries, and some who could be on that stage have had to choose the day job over the sport.

    – Speaking as one currently enjoying quite a bit of national pride.

  12. Siverly says

    As someone who lives in East London I don’t relish yet more poverty for decades to come made worse by huge Olympian-sized debts which local authorities like Hackney and Tower Hamlets, which are desperately poor areas,will have to absorb. London simply cannot afford these games, as important as they are. Sorry to rain on your parade, but the ‘Games’ come at a tragic price for the poor in hosts cities.

  13. davem says

    Living in the UK, not too far from London, I found the constant negativity of the press, TV and portions of society really tedious. People seem to think that it’s clever to constantly carp about things that might go wrong. It’s not; it just sounds like what it is: pitiful whining.

    ‘tragic price for the poor’? Hyperbole much?

    Yet a *million* people got off their backsides, and went out to watch the cycle road race the other day. And you know what? They actually enjoyed themselves. Tragic.

  14. kraut says


    shall we call it the Army and Navy games?
    Olympics is funneling money to building contractors and suppliers, quite often those that are sponsors of the party in charge at the time of the competition for holding the games, and a boon to real estate developers.

    But, you have every right to support any nonsense as long as you agree what your tax money is wasted on.
    I never will help to elect the party ever again that is responsible for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, a boondoggle of expensive highway construction, expensive apartments etc.

  15. lcaution says

    I admire the “99%” athletes enormously. Not the top 1% who know they have a good chance to get a medal, who train under the best of circumstances, but the rest.

    What drives these other athletes around the world to train, often as hard as the top 1%, in often far less favorable circumstances, often in sports that get little or no recognition? Whether we’re talking international tennis, ice-skating, archery, rowing, fencing, whatever: these young people come to compete, knowing they cannot win a medal or trophy, knowing they may lose in the first rounds. But come they do, and perform to the best of their ability.

    It requires a kind of courage I can barely imagine, let alone emulate.

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