(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)
(AoftheAP) Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the 2012 Summer Olympics, President Barack Obama announced that, while he was pleased with the sportsmanship and sense of fair play exhibited by all the U.S. athletes, he was disappointed at the level of their success.
“Let me be clear. The Olympics are so much more than mere winning and losing. I believe, and there are many who think as I do, that the Olympics are about fairness, about a cooperative spirit. I think what we as a nation ought to be asking ourselves is, what kind of country do we really want? The way I see it, and again, the way so many others around the world see it as well, is that what you have here…
“Look it, the United States took home 104 total medals. That’s more than the bottom 45 or 46 nations combined – not including those countries that didn’t even receive one medal. The United States took home 46 gold medals – that’s more than all but 3 countries’ – our good friends from China, Russia and Great Britain – total medal counts. Think about how unfair that is. For example, our country received 46 gold medals, while Germany received a total of only 44 medals – gold, silver and bronze combined. The way I see it, the U.S. took too many medals.
“So, in order to make this more fair, I’m issuing an Executive Order this morning declaring that the US Olympic Team will redistribute up to 75% of their medals to nations who received very few, or none at all. I think it’s okay that we keep some of the medals, just not all of them. And I urge our good friends from China and Russia to consider doing the same. What I’m not proposing here is unilateral dismedalment, which I’m sure my critics will accuse me of doing. I’m doing this in the spirit of cooperation and fairness, the sort of values that the Olympics, and our nation, are built upon.
“I think most people would agree, that we ‘won’ those medals because so many others ‘lost’. As proud as I am at the effort and hard work put forth by our nation’s athletes, I just have to say to them, listen – you didn’t win that. Somebody else…made that happen. And that ‘somebody else’ happens to be nearly all the other nations of the world, who just didn’t have the same opportunities, the same quality roads and bridges, which obviously did not lead to equitable outcomes. This Executive Order seeks to remedy that.”
Next month, the International Olympic Committee will decide whether the 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, or Tokyo. The Windy City’s Olympic bid is believed by many to have a good chance of succeeding, although others predict Rio will get the nod in order to bring the Games to South America for the first time.
Supporters of Chicago’s bid (the most ardent among them being Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley) say the Games will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the city to the world, increase tourism, and promote economic development.
Those who don’t want the Games, however, argue that it will burden the city and the entire state of Illinois with years of additional taxes and debt, displace poor and vulnerable people from their homes and places of employment, leave behind crumbling “white elephant” venues, and promote exactly the kind of pay-to-play corruption that has made Chicago and Illinois infamous.
Whatever the outcome of the Olympic bid (which we will know on Oct. 2, when the IOC meets in Copenhagen), the competition for the Games has gotten me to thinking about another world-class event that has been proven to have lasting positive effects on the communities and countries that host it: World Youth Day.