Alright, here's an issue which will probably get a lot of responses (especially regarding 1980 Olympians).
I do support some type of Olympic Boycott compensation from countries that pull their athletes out of the Games during an undeclared war. Rembember, I emphasise the word "undeclared", for a declared war is a dire national emergency.
Let's go back to 1980. Wasn't track still in amateur status back then (though in transisition). Did some athletes have to pay training expenses out of their own pockets. How much did sponsors lose. How much did ABC loose with no Olympics. I still think all of those athletes and spnosors should get compensated for the wrongest move ever by Jimmy Carter (and I like the guy, too).
Bill Rodgers--pay him
Sam Bouie--pay him
Evelyn Ashford--pay her
Isaiah Thomas--pay him
That's right. I said it. What are your thoughts? Peace.
Actually, i THINK that "stopping of war" is a bit of a myth. As I understand revisionist history, competitors in the Games were guaranteed safe transit during times of war, but the frequent and ongoing wars continued unabated.
Any real scholars out there clarify this one way or another?
To quickly answer your question, it appears the Olympic Truce only protected those in attendance from local conflicts.
"The Olympic Truce was instituted by the city-state of Elis to protect against military incursions which interrupted the Games. Every four years, special heralds from Elis were sent out to all corners of the Greek world to announce the approaching Olympic festival and games. Along with this news, they would announce the Olympic Truce, which protected athletes, visitors, spectators and official embassies who came to the festival from becoming involved in local conflicts."
> I still think
>all of those athletes and spnosors should get
>compensated for the wrongest move ever by Jimmy
The Olympic boycott was the idea of Carter and his advisers, but the blame for it rests squarely on the shoulders of the USOC, which properly denounced the boycott when it was first announced, and then buckled under when the government applied some pressure. It was an ugly act of cowardice on the USOC's part. Their only purpose in life is to support our Olympic team, not to prevent it from competing. They had a moral obligtation to defy Carter and send our athletes to Moscow; instead they voted to boycott the Games. By contrast, the British government told the British Olympic Association to boycott the Games as well, and the Olympic people told the government to go jump in a lake. Both institutions survived, as the USOC would have had they done the right thing. Politics should have no place in Olympic matters, and we should have gone no matter what the President said.
By the way, for those of you who don't recall this, the boycott was thought of as a way to protest the Soviets' occupation of Afghanistan. Did anyone in his right mind really believe that an Olympic boycott was going to influence the USSR's foreign policy? No, and of course it didn't. The primary effect of the boycott was that four years later, the Soviets and most of their allies retaliated by boycotting the LA Games, which gave the US more medals than we would have had otherwise, but which truly diminished the level of competition in many events.
PS - If this is Current Events, what is Historical?
My apologies for putting this in the current events section. The only reason why I did that was: 1) to support Boycott compensation for future games. Also, 2) the US war with Iraq just got me thinking, that's all.
What would happen if in the future, the games were boycotted, and all of the sponsors, and even athletes, lost money (projected earnings, advertising dollars, etc). This may be something we in the track community may have to think about. Peace.
David Wallechinsky makes the point in his "Complete Book of the Olympics" that the IOC is made up of representatives of governments -- the kind of people who always get their way. That's why politics are allowed at the Olympics in the way of national uniforms and anthems and such, but dissident politics are dealt with harshly. Allowing athletes to compete when their government says they can't would be absolutely intolerable in their eyes.
I am stunned by the level to which individual (as opposed to nationalistic) political statements are not tolerated. I was putting together some videotape for a class presentation; I had written a paper on possible cultural reasons for Kenyan, Ethiopian, and pre-WWII Finnish domination of distance running. It's pretty well known that Abebe Bekila made his move in the Rome Olympic marathon at an obelisk that was plundered from Ethiopia during the Italian occupation (the 1947 UN peace treaty required it to be returned within 18 months, but it's still there to this day). It was an obvious political statement. Every account of the race specifically mentions it -- but the Bud Greenspan films totally ignore it. I'm sure it was because Greenspan did not want to offend the IOC.
>>David Wallechinsky makes the point in
>"Complete Book of the Olympics" that the
>made up of representatives of
>He's wrong, in most cases.
Well, either I misquoted him, or the world's foremost authority on Olympic history is mistaken. I think the general idea is that NOCs would be very hesitant to event appear to oppose their own governments. If the USOC couldn't go against the grain, it's not going to happen anywhere else.
I don't know how the IOC is set up, but in the IAAF it's one vote per country. While liberal democracies tend to have large economies (and Olympic teams), the majority of the world's nations have governments of a dictatorial style. You can see it in the IAAF's actions -- they don't like debate.
I think the general idea is that NOCs
>would be very hesitant to event appear to oppose
>their own governments. If the USOC couldn't go
>against the grain, it's not going to happen
But it did happen somewhere else, namely, Great Britain, which sent its team to the 1980 Olympics in defiance of the wishes of the British government. There may have been others, but that was the most prominent.
>I don't know how the IOC is set
>up, but in the IAAF it's one vote per country.<
IOC members are people, not countries, and although some of them work for their countries' governments, I believe most do not. There are three US members, and I don't think any of them has any connection to the government.
But it did happen
>somewhere else, namely, Great Britain, which sent
>its team to the 1980 Olympics in defiance of the
>wishes of the British government. There may have
>been others, but that was the most prominent.
I think I remember hearing that while they supported the US boycott, the athletes were allowed to decide for themselves whether to go or not (and of course they all did). I'd be interested to go back and see just how enthusiastically the British gov't supported the U.S. Heck, it could have been like, oh say, three months ago, where public opinion was "split" to say the least.
In general, though, the IOC stays out of member nations' business. If they weren't going to do anything about the Iraqi OC, they certainly weren't going to come to the aid of Edwin Moses, et al.
With all the money that has come into the Olympics, I don't think we will see another boycott. The Olympics were generally a money-losing business until 1984, and our athletes couldn't have claimed any financial loss either since they were "amateurs" (wink wink).
To clarify the IOC/government thing (I hope). The IOC is very clear that coutnries don't send delegates to the IOC: the IOC has members free of national ties and they give instructions to countries.
Things have improved, but for years, it seemed that a pre-requisite to being an IOC member was to have "duke" or "earl" or "general" or the like as part of your name.
As to Wallechinsky being the "foremost authority on Olympic history," let's revise to saying that he's certainly the author most successful at having become commercially viable. Whether he's foremost or not is certainly open to debate.
I was in Moscow for the UK. Our OC did tell Thatcher and her cronies to go jump in a lake. However, they withdrew some funding so we were flown in & out just before and after our events to limit expenses. Somehow some right-wing nuts got hold of our home addresses and I remember receiving a bunch of hate mail accusing us of supporting communists, being unpatriotic etc. Some included photo's of mutilated babies and war crime victims...charming, eh? Other memory was Ovett throwing up in our bathtub after indulging too much following his loss in the 1500m!
The USOC was threatened with having its charter revoked (the Stevens Amateur Sports Act established the USOC so Congress could take it away). It was in a no win situation.
The US could not just athletes without them facing criminal penalties.
It was stupid and a very good friend of mine lost his chance to compete so I am bitter about it, but a gun was put to the head of the USOC members. They might have been able to fight it, but the US government had time on its side.