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A Few More Thoughts On The Olympics.

Lord knows we loved the Olympics. We even loved the Winter Olympics which had sports and events in which we never participated. We can remember sitting inches away from the television as Fran Klammer made his historic and edge of disaster run in the downhill at Innsbruck in 1976. WHo could forget the 1980 US Hockey team? We even started to get into curling because of the Olympic coverage a few years ago.

Yet our disappointment in the Olympics continues to rise in direct proportion to the silliness and inane attitude of Olympic national organizations as well as some athletes themselves.

The Olympic motto is “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger” which is a noble goal for everyone, not just the athletes.

In our own lives, we should always be striving to be faster, reach higher, and be stronger not only in physical strength, but beliefs and intellectual pursuits as well.

However, the US Olympic Committee seems to have decided that diversity should be the goal of the US Olympic Team, rather than the outcome of competition.

The U.S. Olympic Committee says it’s taking its most diverse team ever to a Winter Games, an impressive and deserved boast that requires a caveat of sorts.

Yes, USOC officials are pleased the team includes more African Americans and Asian Americans — and even the first two openly gay men — than recent winter squads. But they also realize this year’s U.S. Olympic team, not unlike those of most other nations gathering in PyeongChang this week, is still overwhelmingly white.

“We’re not quite where we want to be,” said Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion. “. . . I think full-on inclusion has always been a priority of Team USA. I think everybody’s always felt it should represent every American.”

Team USA numbers 243 athletes, which is the largest team any nation has sent to a Winter Olympics. Of that group, 10 are African American — 4 percent — and another 10 are Asian American. The rest, by and large, are white. The Winter Games contingent is typically much smaller than its summer counterpart, but the demographic differences are striking. The United States took more than 550 athletes to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Of that group, more than 125 were African American — about 23 percent.

[….]

The Ted Stevens Act requires each sport’s governing body and the USOC to send a report to both Congress and the president every four years that, among other things, details participation of minorities, women and people with disabilities. In a step toward even more transparency, the USOC now requires each sport’s governing body to submit a diversity scorecard each year. While the reports include benchmarks and goals, the results offer statistical snapshots of each sport and, especially for the winter offerings, underscore the areas that are lacking.

“We wanted to see what that diversity looks like, how we could measure it, track it,” Thompson said. “That has had an incredible impact. I think it means we’re being transparent with our fans, so people can see, No. 1, it’s a priority, and, No. 2, we’re being honest about it. In some areas, we got some work to do.”

There’s the problem. The USOC seems to be looking at being a more diverse team with good athletes rather than a team of good athletes that are diverse and there is a difference.

Here’s a news flash for people who don’t get what we are saying:

We don’t care what the color or your skin is. We don’t care what gender you are. We don’t care about you sexual orientation. (Although we can see the coming conflict between males that “identify” as females and want to compete as women in the Olympic Games.)

We just don’t care about those things.

What we do care is that you are one of the best in the nation in your sport. If you have the chops, go to the games and we will root for you. That’s what we always believed.

But now with the focus on “diversity,” we wonder if there isn’t pressure to give people spots that may not have earned them in competition.

If that’s the case, then the Olypics has betrayed it believes and core values.


We also wrote the other day about the case of Erin Hamlin and Shani Davis. If you remember, Davis was upset that he was not picked as the flag bearer for the US team during the opening ceremonies because he lost a coin toss that was part of the rules explained to the participants prior to the vote.

Davis pulled out the race card and played it and we noted that Hamlin was part of that “diversity” that the USOC wants as she is a woman.

The story got stranger when US governing body of the sport made this announcement:

A U.S. Speedskating spokesman said Saturday that Davis originally planned to skip Friday night’s festivities because of his training schedule but briefly reconsidered when he was nominated by his teammates to be the flag-bearer.

Davis had not intended to go to the Opening Ceremonies and yet he was petulant and downright obnoxious when he lost in the flag bearer elections?

Sure enough, Davis didn’t participate in the Opening Ceremonies, and then because of the firestorm he created through his actions and tweets, closed his Twitter account to outside views.

[Davis] didn’t speak to reporters after his training session on Saturday for the second straight day.

Davis’ verified Twitter account has since been changed to protected status, which blocks potential followers and doesn’t allow his tweets to be seen.

Unbelievably, it gets worse.

In a blog post he wrote Tuesday for TeamUSA.org, Davis explained that he chose to complete his pre-Olympic preparations in Germany while the U.S. team had its camp in Milwaukee. He wrote that he was “so charged up and nervous” in boarding his flight from Amsterdam to Seoul that he didn’t pay attention to his seating assignment.

Another passenger tried to claim a seat that Davis believed was his, although the skater admitted he was incorrect.

“I felt he was being rude by the way he blurted to me I was wrong, and I responded to him something like, “Don’t be mean about it!!” Davis wrote. “People make mistakes, so of course he was laughing and I told him not to smile at me!! I couldn’t believe this situation I was in lol, but maybe this is that fire my skating has been missing?! If so the skate world better watch out!!”

It was rude to say that Davis was wrong and laugh about the situation?

A US Olympic athlete told another human being on a plane not to smile at him?

Can you imagine the controversy if the passenger had frowned and yelled at Davis? Wanna bet what the tweets and blog post would have been like then?

Athletes can be high strung and petulant at times, but the USOC has to step up and demand accountability from the athletes themselves.

As for diversity, we know that Davis will count toward the “US’s Diversity Goal” of buttheads on the team.



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