IOC aims to bar wild cards
May 27, 2003 3:13 AM   Subscribe

What? No more wild cards in the Olympics? This must be a conspiracy to take all the fun out of the Games. We must talk to them about REAL entertainment value.
posted by acrobat (9 comments total)
I agree that some diversionary value - ie, when the inevitability of a nation winning is widely known in advance - and fun comes from the likes of Eddie the Eagle.

Mr Rogge said the IOC would in future ask smaller countries to select their most talented athlete and they would help to prepare them with technical expertise and financial assistance. - So maybe sporting excellence will be enhanced? O - I forgot, it's a multinational bureaucracy at work. Excuse my naivety...
posted by dash_slot- at 3:39 AM on May 27, 2003

It's a good decision if they instead fill the wild card spots with world class athletes who wouldn't get to go to the Olympics because of small per country alotments.
posted by neuroshred at 3:46 AM on May 27, 2003

Wait, so they're going to remove the one tiny reason I pay attention to the Olympics at all? Maybe I'll go start an "All Wild Card" Olympics. That would be awesome!
posted by emptybowl at 7:39 AM on May 27, 2003

What they should do is reverse Samaranch's legacy. Start with requiring all athletes to be amateur again and see how the corruption flies out the window.

Ok, maybe that is too much to expect, but at least make them an amateur-only event again - why have separate sets of Olympic and World Records otherwise? And keep the wild cards - or risk the games becoming yet another rich-country-only (not big or small, but rich) event.
posted by magullo at 8:02 AM on May 27, 2003

Nail in the coffin, indeed. The Olympics basically lost relevance in Atlanta, in 1996, somewhere among the AT&T One World Stage, the Swatch Pavilion, the Randstad bus drivers, Coca-Cola City or whatever the hell that vacant lot up on Baker Street was called, the Nike (or was it Reebok? Whoever lost the deal to hawk shoes in the park proper...) promotion in the abandoned parking garage, and, oh yeah, the rampant real-estate speculation that had people literally hours away from Atlanta cashing in (or at least attempting to) on their "proximity". Even Samaranch seemed a bit appalled at the beast he had wrought, holding back the "Best. Games. Ever." label for the more reserved "Most Excellent" that a region in denial still sees as a slap in the face.

In any case, this is just more of the same. In 1996 the corporatization of the Olympics was complete. Let the globalization (i.e. "compete with the West on the West's terms, or don't play at all.") begin!
posted by Vetinari at 8:37 AM on May 27, 2003

The Olympics basically lost relevance in Atlanta, in 1996

To me, it lost a lot of relevance in '92 in Barcelona. That whole "Dream Team" thing was the initial spike in the coffin.
posted by PeteyStock at 9:30 AM on May 27, 2003

How sad.

This past winter olympics, we had the Korean Biathalon team stay in our home. It was a wonderful experience, 2 athletes and their coach.

They weren't here to win the olympics, they knew they didn't stand a chance. Instead, they were here to just compete and be part of all that happened. It was the competition, the ability to be with other atheletes and the honor of representing their country that was important, not the winning. I hadn't personally understood or cared that much about the olympics until they came. It really opened my eyes and made for a special time.
posted by Plunge at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2003

I love the "eddy the eagle" types of the olympics, especially given the introduction of professional athletes into the games. I always thought those people kind of embodied a fun spirit that the Olympics has lacked lately.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:09 AM on May 27, 2003

Mr Rogge said the IOC would in future ask smaller countries to select their most talented athlete and they would help to prepare them with technical expertise and financial assistance.

Cool. Olympic Extreme Makeovers. It's about time the IOC recognized the synergistic marketing power of cross-polinating the chemically and technically scripted plots of olympic competition with the transformative power of money as seen in Pretty Woman.

Maybe I'm just warped but I always looked to see if the other three horsemen, famine, pestilence, or death followed the IOC site selection delegates when they visited Toronto. Fortunately, only a couple of million was spent per ritualistic rejection (It is not cheap getting all of the community leaders and the delegates in one place - you have to create strong barriers to keep the hoi polloi from being overcome by the putrid flatulence - but it is money well spent when the two side repel each other like matching repugnance poles).

The other cool part is that helping these athletes will probably require mobile biochemistry labs in third world countries. Those could be really handy.

BRB - I need to go buy some more tinfoil for my hat.
posted by srboisvert at 1:31 PM on May 27, 2003

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