U.S. greets 2028 Olympic announcement with collective yawn | WYPR

U.S. greets 2028 Olympic announcement with collective yawn

Aug 14, 2017

Credit Alistair Ross/flickr

We know you’ve been busy lately, what with summer vacations, planning for the eclipse, or checking out sunflowers, so maybe you haven’t been keeping up on the goings-on in the world of sports.

In our never-ending quest to inform and entertain, let’s let you in on a little secret: The Olympics are coming to the United States.

That’s right: the Olympic Games will be back in the good ole, US of A. And they’ll be here before you know it, in the summer of 2028, a mere 11 years from now.

The Games will return to Los Angeles, which will make its third appearance as host.

Once upon a time, such news would have been a big, fat, hairy deal and would have been celebrated, or at least noted all over the place.

But the L.A. Olympic announcement, which came roughly two weeks ago, was greeted with a collective yawn. Word of the nearly 100-year-old piece of fruitcake found frozen in Antarctica got bigger play.

Part of that indifference is due to the sports calendar. The LA news came with the opening of NFL training camps and, as we know, news of any kind from professional football trumps all news from anywhere else.

For that matter, in Los Angeles, the city is not only welcoming two NFL teams, the Rams and the relocated Chargers, but is marking the historic run of the Dodgers, as they try to win the franchise’s first World Series title in 29 years.

But a lot of the irrelevance that seemed to greet the Olympics is a sign of the times and perhaps a reflection of the esteem – or lack thereof – with which the Games are held.

In a nobler, sweeter time, there was no greater thing to be if you were an athlete than to be an Olympian. And if you were a gold medalist, your name was spoken with reverence and you were considered a hero.

But those sweet, noble times are long gone. Questions over amateurism as well as doping and performance-enhancing drug scandals have stripped a lot of the sheen off the glow of Olympic heroes.

Much of the blame for the tarnish that has befallen the Olympics goes right at the foot of the International Olympic Committee, which governs the Games.

The IOC has turned itself into a cash machine, rather than the true keeper of the Olympic flame.

It has turned the awarding of the Games into nothing short of a cash shakedown, forcing cities and countries to spend into the billions to land the Olympics, in some cases through bribes to IOC officials.

Those jurisdictions typically emerge from the three weeks with shiny, new facilities that can’t be used once the Games are over.

Meanwhile, in a quest to make itself hip to a younger audience, the IOC has turned its back on tradition, eschewing longtime sports like baseball and softball for fads like three-on-three basketball and maybe video games.

Heck, the Olympics won’t even have Bob Costas around to host any more, as he’s giving up the anchor chair before next winter’s games in South Korea.

Perhaps one good thing will come from all this Olympic ennui: At least the LA freeways will be clear.

And that’s how I see it for this week.