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by Dr. Buono in the November 10 Northern Express. While I applaud your enthusiasm embracing a market solution for global climate change and believe that this is a vital piece of the overall approach, it is almost laughable and at least naive to believe that your Representative Mr.

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Abolish the Olympics

George Foster - August 26th, 2004
Even as we celebrate the return of the Olympics to Greece, the games have problems. Big problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and believe there is some value in the Olympic games. However, it is clear that the disadvantages of the games far outweigh the advantages. After Greece, let us mercifully put the games to rest - forever.
First of all, World Championships already exist in gymnastics, track, swimming, and many other sports. The World Cup in soccer and Tour De France in cycling are more prestigious than the Olympics. Do we really need the Olympics tossed in the mix to determine the best athletes in the world?
Disturbingly, more and more, the Olympic Games have become a showcase for political causes. It begins with the shameful system of bribing officials leading up to choosing each host country. Politics dictate the nations that are allowed to participate in the Olympics. Worst of all, political considerations corrupt the judging of individual events each year.
The early 1980s were symbolic of how the Olympics have been twisted to serve the agenda of politicians. In 1980 Jimmy Carter refused to allow the U.S. team to participate in Moscow because of the Afghanistan War. For revenge, the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Olympiad in 1984. Does anyone think this is what the founders of the Olympic movement had in mind when they launched the games to encourage harmony among the world’s states?
The biggest problem in the modern era of Olympic Games is the threat of violence. Originally, the games were held to promote peaceful competition to offset the frequent wars and brutal violence that swept ancient Greece.
Due to over-hyped celebrity athletes, heated nationalism, and undue emphasis on winning medals, there are all too many examples of how the modern games attract and indirectly encourage violence. Sadly, we now expect trouble.
It didn’t take long for the modern Olympics to draw blood. Greece was awarded the games after the resumption of the Olympics in 1896. As a result of increased Greek patriotism from the games, war broke out between Greece and Turkey the following year.
In 1968, Mexican police shot and killed 260 students demonstrating against holding the games in Mexico City. Eleven Israeli athletes, one policeman, and five terrorists died in 1972 during an attack on the Munich games. In 1996, the Atlanta games suffered a terrorist bomb explosion that killed one and injured scores of attendees.
Note that all of this violence occurred before September 11, 2001. The fear of terrorist acts seemed relatively mild then compared to the growing threats we now face from al-Qaeda and like-minded groups. The Olympics are a natural target for terrorists.
As the overall cost of hosting the games skyrockets into the multi-billions of dollars, security in Greece passed the unprecedented billion-dollar expense threshold months ago. Also due in part to terrorist threats, attendance is way down in Greece. Officials expect only 3 million tickets to be sold in Athens, roughly half of what was sold 4 years ago in Sydney.
There isn’t time here to go into other problems such as rampant commercialism and illegal drug use by athletes, but suffice it to say the Olympics are not the panacea for good sportsmanship and healthy lifestyles that we would hope.
As a result, since they originated in Greece in 776 B.C., it is fitting the Olympics end there in 2004 A.D.

 
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