Why the Hell Do We Have the Olympics Anyways?

Mr. Charlton’s been dumping on the Olympic games for the last couple of posts and for good reason. They’re expensive,  and the countries hosting the games can’t always afford the exorbitant cost of hosting the damn things. When the host country runs out of money, you get shoddy facilities, unsafe venues, and not enough doctors to treat people. This last point is especially true if you currently have an outbreak of something like Zika or the T-Virus.


Zombies would be pretty good at the 100m dash if you had brains at the finish line. ¹

I’m not a sports guy. I have no interest in sports, no clue about sport, don’t follow sports, don’t get the whole big hoopla about the drama in professional sports. Truthfully, I’m the last person that should be commenting on sports, and certainly one of the most celebrated sporting events in the world. I shouldn’t be touching this one. But I’m gonna step out of my persona for a second, get real down to earth and share my real opinion of the Olympic games.

They’re important.

Now sports, in general, are important. I don’t agree with exactly HOW important they are in our society, but if I were to choose this world with sports and this world without, then hands down I’d have to go with a sporting world.

They’re important for kids growing up. They’ll get exercise running around, and an active lifestyle is good for developing brains. They’ll learn teamwork. And the most important life lesson they’ll learn, one that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives, is this; You can train every single day, work hard every day to achieve a dream, only to find out that someone from the next town over is better than you’ll ever be. I’m not kidding! That’s a really important lesson kids need to learn. And if they are the best, then this society will shower you with riches and fame, or at least a trip to the Olympics. Most likely  they’ll only be average, and that’s perfectly okay. They’ll still walk away knowing how to work hard to achieve something, even if it’s second place.

They’re important as an entertainment outlet. That’s what professional sports are. They’re meant to entertain people. It doesn’t entertain me, but I can’t argue with the numbers. 90% of Americans watch sports. If you’re reading this and aren’t into sports, you are in the minority. Plain and simple. Even I’ve been sucked in every now and again. Surrounded by people invested in the game at the bar, everyone biting their nails, and then the place  erupts in cheers when a goal is scored. Shucks, Mr. Charlton was cheering too! So I can’t sit here and talk about sports without at least acknowledging that people are invested in sports.

The Olympics aren’t important because it gives kids something to aspire to and then statistically fail at. They’re not important because the world needs more sports entertainment, as most people would much rather watch football then target shooting. I’m going to show you a picture that sums it up. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I need to keep my word count below 1500.


Gymnast Selfie! ²

Mr. Charlton is going to explain to you why this picture is so goddamn important. The gymnast taking the selfie is Lee Eun-Ju of South Korea and the gymnast on the left is Hong Un Jong of North Korea. The two countries have technically been at war for the last six decades. I shouldn’t have to explain what North Korea is all about, but I’ll try to sum it up. It’s a brutal country led by a family of despots who’ve had a stranglehold on the country through a cult of personality. The Kims are thought of more as Gods then they are heads of state. The citizens of North Korea aren’t allowed to leave, except with very few exceptions. The Olympic games are one of them.

The picture sums up a very important aspect of the Olympics. That even though these two are citizens of countries that see each other as enemies, under the banner of the Olympic flag, they’re united in the spirit of healthy competition. Not with bullets or bombs, but gymnastics.

They’re another magical event happening at the Olympics, and it’s not basketball. This is the first Olympics hosting a team of refugees, athletes that have no country to call home. You know what flag they’re flying?


Here’s a hint. It’s this one.

That flag represents humanity under one banner. It represents the spirit of putting down your guns and picking up volleyballs instead. It represents the best aspects of the human spirit. It represents community, commonality, compassion and competition, all under one goddamn flag. If you’re wondering if this competition is worth the four or five billion dollar price tag, I’ll give you my opinion. You better fucking believe it’s worth the price because that’s less than the cost of a week at war. And thankfully the only thing getting shot at the Olympics is targets.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m still not gonna watch, though. Just so we’re clear.

¹ Photo taken from http://retrogamersociety.com/tag/the-last-of-us/

² Photo taken from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37030696http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37030696

The High Price of the Olympic Games

The tally for the summer Olympics in Rio is going to be over four billion dollars. Four billion! While that might seem like a massive price, it’s actually a modest one. To compare it to the last Olympics held, the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, it’s a drop in the bucket. The winter games held two years ago cost a staggering 51 billion dollars, so the price tag of the Rio Olympics is humble. Which would be okay if the country wasn’t in a massive recession.

The Olympics cost money. A lot of money. So much money, in fact, many countries have withdrawn their future bids, citing cost as the main reason for turning away the chance to host the games. The games require a massive amount of spending in infrastructure, investments in buildings that have little to no use past the games themselves. I was going to link a bunch of photos with cute little captions, but here’s a whole album of derelict Olympic facilities you can peruse.

That would probably be the biggest problem a lot of people have with the Olympic games; it’s really damn expensive. And the countries hosting the games don’t always have the extra cash to splurge on a three-week party that celebrates amateur sports. The issue with the Olympic games isn’t the doping scandals or the water quality or the possibility of disease breaking out, it’s the Olympic bidding has become an episode of keeping up with the Jones’.

The games, both winter and summer, promise to be the best Olympics ever. Every host city plans to have a better Olympics than the previous Olympics. The opening ceremony is getting more extravagant, the facilities are boasting better additions. How can this be fair to countries without the GDP of places like the United States or Russia or China? How the hell was a country like Brazil supposed to compete with a country like the United Kindom, which was the last place to host the summer games?

It couldn’t. If you’re wondering why you’re hearing stories of polluted water, poor facilities and issues of security, it’s because the Brazilian government bit off more than it could chew. It’s not Brazil’s fault either. The bidding started back in 2007 for these games, and then the world was rocked by the 2008 recession. Even though the country seemingly bounced back in record time, the country has slowly been dipping down again for the last several years. Slow worldwide economic growth has stunted the Brazilian markets.No one could have predicted the state of affairs in Brazil that long ago.

The International Olympic Committee, also known as the IOC, had a number of bids in place from cities all around the world. Madrid was one, Chicago was another, and there was also Tokyo in the mix. Spain hosted the summer games in 1992 in Barcelona, The US had the games recently in Atlanta, and Tokyo Japan was home to the summer games in 1964. Brazil, let alone the entire South Americas had yet to host the games. It was the perfect opportunity for Rio de Janeiro to throw their hat into the mix. Why wouldn’t the IOC have Rio host the games? They bounced back from the 2008 recession like the rubber from a rubber tree, which is indigenous to Brazil. Here, I found a graph and now I’m going to show you that the IOC wasn’t crazy for picking Rio.

Brazil-GDPMassive crash at the tail end of 2008, better than ever in six months. ¹

It’s really unfortunate that Brazil has been suffering economically for the last couple of years, but how could the games be moved? We’re talking about plans that had been laid out for almost a decade. It’s a billion dollar event the entire world has it’s eyes on. It’s a shame some of the facilities aren’t up to snuff and the country is reeling from a massive recession, but the only thing you can really do is shrug your shoulders and hope that the games go well. And so far, the games haven’t broken down into complete chaos. The last thing we need to see is the Olympic Games turning into the Hunger Games.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Man, does the Olympics have anything nice to say about itself? Tune in Wednesday!

p.s.s. I missed a couple posts. I was out camping. Yes, I absolutely hate camping, so you’ll be hearing about that soon enough.

¹ Graph taken from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/brazil/gdp-growth




Olympics Making Me Queasy.

Out of all the sporting events in the world, by far the most corrupt have to be the Olympic Summer games. That’s saying a lot, as sports in general are a corrupt institution to begin with. Aside from doping athletes, underground gambling rings, not to mention the outlandish and unethical practices we tolerate from players, sports have always had a dark underside to them. That’s part of the reason for their popularity, it’s the drama and the scandals and the opera of these pastimes that makes them interesting. It’s not just the sports themselves that are entertaining, it’s the struggle and the chaos revolving around the players, managers and owners that make it fun to watch. Which is why the Olympics have always been a paradox. The spirit of the games, which is to highlight amateur sports from around the globe in a friendly contest to unite the world under one banner, is notorious for some of the shadiest dealings and backroom deals on the planet.

If there was a medal for the most corrupt Olympics, Brazil might take the home the gold. In a country already rife with political strife and high rates of poverty, the idea the games should be hosted in Rio de Janeiro is going to go down as one of the largest oversights in the Olympic’s history. Numerous civil servants and workers have gone on strike. Riots and protests are met with fierce crackdowns from security forces. If there was one sentence to sum up Rio hosting the summer Olympics games, it would be this; Rio de Janeiro shouldn’t be hosting the summer Olympic games.

It’s a mess, and when the word mess is mentioned, it’s the literal meaning of the word. The bay that 1,400 will be swimming and rowing in is polluted. Polluted to the point that athletes are taking extreme measures to counter the effects of the water. They are going to be popping antibiotics like Pez, donning full suits to keep the water out of there ears and bleaching the oars. These are some of the things you would have to take precautions against when your swimming or rowing in water full of human waste.

Unfortunately, these measures don’t protect the athletes from viruses, and it’s not Zika we’re talking about. Viral levels in the water are 1.7 million times higher than what we would consider worrisome in the Western world. Put it this way; if the athletes consume a teaspoon of two of water, the likelihood that they’ll contract some sort of virus is over 90%.

That’s just the athletes. What about the massive number of tourists that are going to be descending on Rio to watch the games? What about the nearby beaches that will soon be full of foreign travelers? If you are thinking about going to the games in Rio, stock up on shots and travel insurance.

Then there’s the buzz of the Zika virus. The truth is, the games are technically taking place in Brazil’s winter, so the dangerous carrier of the Zika virus, mosquitoes, are going to be less of threat than they would be at other times. If you’re an athlete or a tourist, then you have a much higher chance of contracting the virus through sex than from mosquitoes. The Zika virus gives off few or no symptoms in most people, the symptoms being rashes, fever, joint pain and red eyes. In pregnant women, it can cause birth defects, and in a few cases it can cause paralysis. This means if you’re a tourist or an athlete that’s going to be getting pregnant in the future, the best bet is to stay away from the games altogether. Numerous athletes are already passing on the games due to the Zika virus.

Viruses are always kind of neat up close

What a cute little flipper-baby making virus!²


The troubling concern over the Zika virus and the other host of pathogens in the water filled with raw sewage leads us to a bigger question. Would the hospitals in Rio be able to handle the surge of patients that will undoubtedly arise from the mass influx of people entering the city? The doctors union in Rio has some choice words for the tourists heading to the games; “Don’t get sick.” Rio has been going through a healthcare crisis due to a funding shortage, and has closed several hospitals recently. Rio simply doesn’t have enough beds to take on new patients.

The games haven’t even begun and already people are avoiding it in droves. So far we’ve only touched on people getting sick, and believe me when I tell you there’s a lot more to worry about than a Bay full of shitty water.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. You know how the movies in the 1980’s had fake commercials for 5000 SPF sunscreen and full body suits to go swimming in the water? The future is here folks!

p.s.s. Apparently the junk is so think in some of the water, rats are building nests on them. I call them Ratrinas.

¹ Photo taken from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3717326/Rio-Olympics-2016-Sailing-ramp-collapses-one-week-racing-starts.html

² Photo taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zika-chain-colored.png

³ Photo taken from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-18/rio-s-olympic-hospitals-unable-to-take-new-patients-report-says