It is wet here, the fog an embrace. I do not watch the Olympics. I don't like the nationalism of it, under the guise of unity.
Here is the NY Times on how the money could be better spent.
Our Idea of Gold
Halfway into the Summer Games in Beijing, Chinese athletes had won a lot more gold medals than Americans had. It was enough to make some sports nationalists yearn for Washington’s intervention — but not this page.
Americans have dominated the Olympics since the demise of the cold war sports machines in the former Soviet Union and East Germany. Since the 2000 Sydney Games, China has poured billions of dollars into its state sports program to produce more athletes who can win more gold medals in a wider range of sports.
Of course, China has resorted to tactics that would not be tolerated here: taking young children from their families to start years of rigorous training, refusing to let medal-winning athletes retire, and, it is alleged, doctoring passports to make pliable young gymnasts look old enough for the Olympics when they are not.
No wonder the head of the United States Olympic Committee told The Times’s Harvey Araton that he expected China to be “the dominant team at the Olympic Games for many, many, many years to come.”
So be it. We like to root for the home team as much as anyone. But with the federal budget deep in the red, the economy in the doldrums, a broken military in need of repair, and enormous unmet domestic needs, we can think of a lot better places to invest federal resources than in building a sports machine. Let some rich benefactors augment the $130-million-a-year budget of the United States Olympic Committee.
And if international respect is the goal, a collaborative, less arrogant diplomacy would help a lot more than winning medals.
If we are looking to invest in sports, we would be wiser to spend money on daily gym classes and after-school athletic programs. That would not produce a large crop of Olympians, but it would help combat the growing obesity epidemic among American youngsters and yield health benefits worth more than Olympic gold.