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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-now-for-sports dept.

CoolHand writes:

"Sci-Tech Today talks about the role of technology in the Olympics from a unique perspective:

Every advance in the ever-accelerating juggernaut of sports technology threatens to widen the divide between Olympic haves and have-nots. Well-sponsored teams and rich governments pay top-end scientists and engineers to shape their skis, perfect their skates, tighten their suits, measure their gravitational pull.

I'm no luddite, but this seems to make these sports more about who can afford the best tech, and less about the true spirit of the games: bringing the best athletes from all countries together to compete. How can it be about the athletes, when some of the best athletes may never win due to lack of funding/tech?"

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:44PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @08:44PM (#1894)
    When the Olympics overtly opened the door and allowed true professionals into the Games, it stopped being the Olympics. Once this happened then corporate sponsorship became the new ruler with the athletes just being the tool to build advertising.

    This then drives the technology for it is now not about the athlete (the vehicle), but the technology created by such and such company or from such and such country. How to monetize for maximum profit. Take that away and you just have human beings again and from a TV/entertainment viewpoint, how boring is that?!

    I'm done with the Olympics. Either it reverts back to the Amateur status that had its flaws*, but provided a platform for lesser known to shine, or it ends. Riff with corruption, a blight on most cities financially, it is a just another stop along the way for professional athletes, sandwiched between this or that world sporting event. In the sport I'm involved in (Eventing) I watch the same people that ran in the London Olympics run at Rolex, Burhley, Badmitton, Pau, etc etc. As it is, most of the courses were more challenging then the Olympic course so what makes it special, its run every four years?

    To point, when it was more amateur, there was a possibility a rider and one horse combination could climb high enough, put the sweat, tears, and blood to get on course and maybe podium. Today, most riders have million dollar strings of horses, will buy a horse inside a year before the Games that is "ready made", and when done, move the horse on and get a new one. Good riders who don't have the capital to burn lose out and eventually stop trying. I'd love to see a rule that simply stated, if you medaled in an Olympic Game, you are banned from competing in the same sport again. Then it would mean something.

    * state sponsor athletes being the biggest issue.
    The more things change, the more they look the same
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  • (Score: 1) by istartedi on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:02PM

    by istartedi (123) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:02PM (#1907) Journal

    How do you solve the Jim Thorpe []
    problem? There was a guy who had one little fly in the ointment with respect to amateur
    standing. They stripped his medals. The problem of requiring amateur status back then
    was the same problem as unpaid internships today. The children of the wealthy can afford
    to be amateur athletes at the Olympics, or unpaid interns at Goldman Sachs. Poor people?
    Not so much.

    Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
    • (Score: 1) by bucc5062 on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:24AM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:24AM (#2096)

      It is not perfect, but it still was better then the two tier system we have where the haves (Professionals) get the attention and the have nots (amateurs) do not. I had to read about Jim Thorpe (thank you for the reference), and don't see the issue. The Olympics (in 1912) had strict rules, he admitted to taking money for playing baseball, they stripped him correctly. It serves my point that the Olympics should be for amateurs. After he was "outed" he wound up with a great career as a professional.

      This is why while we can talk about the technology, it is the money that drives...corrupts the event.

      The more things change, the more they look the same
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tlezer on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:30PM

    by tlezer (708) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:30PM (#1932)

    I dislike the filtering and productization(is that a word?) that the networks and sponsors effect on the games. Some sports are more affected than others, but I think it is unfair to throw all athletes into a collective bin of 'professional shills' or 'products of corporate greed'. It think there are a great many personal sacrifices and examples of individuals who compete in the original spirit of the game. We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • (Score: 1) by hubie on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:20PM

    by hubie (1068) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:20PM (#2470) Journal

    In one aspect the opening of the Olympics to professional athletes has leveled the playing field. For decades the amateur status of some countries, particularly the Cold War "Eastern Bloc" countries, was a joke. A good deal of the athletes were technically amateurs, but in practice were professionals. That is all they did was be state-sponsored athletes. Cuba's greatest boxer, Teófilo Stevenson, won gold medals at the '72, '76, and '80 Olympics, and probably would have won them in '84 and '88 if Cuba didn't boycott those. He was so good for so long because that was his full-time job.

    It still happens today. I heard on the curling broadcast that the Chinese team spends all their time in Canada curling against the best Canadian teams, so that is their full-time job. I don't know how the Canadians or Brits or whatnot does it, but the players on the US team have full-time jobs and can only practice on weekends and evenings, and this is true of many of the athletes.