Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Corporate Olympians: Big Winners in London

In 1948, after two Olympics cancelled due to Second World War, London hosted the Olympics  for the first time since 1908.  The '48 Olympics were held in a nation still racked by devastation, both human and economic, and  rationing was still the order of the day.

No new facilities were built for the Olympic teams. The United States contingent were housed in an army barracks.  Many athletes brought as much of their own food as they could. But yet the Olympic Games  went on and proved to the world that the ideals of international competition and peace were compatible and achieveable.

While never perfect then or now, the modern Olympics has fallen a great deal to the powers of corporate sponsorship.  While there may be benefits in training and transportation for some athletes, most of them--save the big stars like Michael Phelps--are much like their colleagues from 64 years ago, winning medals while  scraping by working at jobs to support themselves while the big private media networks and the International  Olympic Committee take home the real gold.



From the San Jose (California) Mercury News August 2nd Editorial:


"No one goes for the gold quite like the International Olympic Committee.

"The NFL and its Super Bowl? FIFA, soccer's governing body, and its World Cup? When it comes to crass commercialism, they're pikers by comparison. The IOC will rake in $6 billion from the London Olympics, and its elite governing board couldn't care less that more than half of the participants have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

"Here's what the Olympic spirit means to IOC President Jacques Rogge:

"Any form of on-site criticism or protest is strictly forbidden before, during or immediately after the Olympics. The IOC insisted well in advance that Britain's Parliament pass laws giving it policing powers that would make Third World dictators jealous."

Read more here at this link below:



  1. It's a dirty business where the fans are ripped-off left right and centre. Not sure if the athletes should recieve money as that removes some integrity from the process potentially. Many contestants are already millionaires anyway.
    But the money could go to developing sport around the world rather than into the pockets of shadowy figures which is where most of it seems to go.
    I have considered the IOC a corrupt sporting body all my life.
    The London Olympics have delivered some great sporting moments, but history will show it set against a background of greed, hypocrisy and destructive leadership in a number of Western states, including the UK

    David Cameron's Olympics will be seen as one giant rip-off one day. I see it as him and his tory mates having a big party and inviting a bunch of global fat-cats at our expense. Meanwhile our pensions are dwindling alarmingly, welfare is being slashed dramatically and our economic policy is three decades behind the times. We are done. And that git goes on tv smiling his head off every day.

  2. A good summing up, Oakie. As I understand it, the British taxpayer might be on the hook for an equivilent of $13 billion dollars for these games. No Olmypics has broken even since the Baracelona Games in 1992.

    Maybe there is wisdom in returning the Games to a series of sporting events without all the hype and luster. As much as one might appreciate sonme of the spectacle of the Opening Ceremonies, what is the point if it necessitates new facilities that wil be underused later on, and what is the good of having so many tickets to the actual games go to corporate sponsors who don't even use them as happened in the gymnastics competition?

    Something seems amiss both at this Olympics and in other ones from the past. Maybe a new trend can be set in Rio next time around. One hopes.

  3. Its glittering light makes our darkening futures look all the more bleak.

  4. Much like things here, Oakie. Makes the blood pressure rise all too much.

  5. We have had a pretty healthy ride in the last few decades. Time to pay the piper I suppose.

  6. Yes, over in the USA we elected too many people in both major parties who thought only in the short term on fiscal matters.

  7. My favourite story of the 1948 Olympics in London is about the factory worker who left work and caught a bus to Wembley. He then ran in the marathon - I don't know where he came - left the stadium, caught a bus and returned to his factory work......................Talk about amateurs....................Mike.

  8. Thats is a great story, Thomas. I'll have to find out more about that!

  9. They had to get this one in quick on account of the imminent start of WWIII Doug. I haven't got the faintest idea of how "we" are doing, badly I hope....the very idea of Team UK makes me feel positively queazy Doug.

  10. I don't care what powers the police, army and Gestapo have given themselves, its got nothing to do with me... I'm just ignoring the whole jamboree completely like I do the government and all corporate media 'presstitutes' that do their bidding anyway. Bugger the Olympics, as you say it's all a load of Corporate crap intended to sell their poisonous aspartame laced death brews and the GMO fat and saltburger vomit inducing, carcinogenic, high cholesterol reconstituted garbage that they peddle as a pale imitation of what we used to call 'food'. Not for me Doug :-)

  11. I really don't give a fig about the medals tote board and all that rot, either. I do like it when some fellow or lady from a small country like Grenada or the Dominican Republic wins a major medal because that does mean so much to the people of the nation, to see one of their own citizens come from nowhere and surprise the world.

  12. No arguments with me, AA. No Olympian could train on McDonald's burgers, straight bottles of Coca Cola ,and Snickers bars and all that other stuff. And more than half of them couldn't qualify for a Visa card account on the US team. I wish they would reboot the Olympics in 2016 and make it like it was in 1948 and earlier, excluding the Berlin Games.

  13. Yes, some of the "Official ----- of the Olympic Games" seem a tad innapropriate. The "official jock-strap of the Olympic games" would make much more sense than burger, fries and a regular coke.

  14. At least the jock strap is related to athletics, Oakie. Unlike the Snickers candy bar, which was once the "Official Snack Food " of the US Team in Atlanta in 1996. Trouble is, you eat two of the larger bars, then jump into a swimming poll, and you'll likely go straight to the bottom.

    I liked the fact that it was raining so hard in some of the '48 track and field events. The runners look miserable...good London weather for August I gather.

    It looks like high summer in Seattle.