Friday, February 26, 2010
The Olympics need the Cold War
You know what the Olympics misses more than anything?
The Cold War.
Capitalism vs. Communism. Freedom vs. Oppression. Us vs. Them. Boy, those were the good ol' days of the Olympics. But ever since the fall of Communism and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the Olympics has lost its edge.
In those days, the medal count was like a referendum on way of life. You would shake your head at any Russian gold medal, and get pumped in a big way when an American would win.
Do you think the Cold War added a lot more drama and accomplishment when the U.S. beat the Soviet Union in hockey in the 1980 Winter Olympics? You're darn right. The next day in the press area, Tass, the Soviet propaganda mouthpiece, had a sign on its door stating, "CLOSED FOR THE DAY ."
Now much of the Soviet Union is broken up into satellite countries that has severely weakened their overall athletic strength. And I miss the old East Germans, especially the women, who had so much steroids flowing in their system they looked like they had a three-day beard and shoulders wider than a Ford F-250.
I still pull for the U.S., of course, but not with the same fervor as the old days. It dawned on me during these Winter Olympics why I'm just a casual watcher. Rooting for the U.S. now is like rooting for Microsoft or AT&T. We don't even care that much about the Winter Olympics and we're leading the medal count.
I know there's China, but they don't pose the same threat as the old Iron Curtain did. And I don't even know if they're at the Winter Olympics. What's up with that? I'm sure it snows it that country.
Life is full of compromises. Sure, the threat of nuclear and global annihilation has lessened, but it was at a steep Olympic cost.