Call me unpatriotic, but I hate the Winter Olympics.
There is absolutely nothing about curling, ice skating, bobsledding, hockey, alpine skiing, biathlon or snowboarding that entices me in the least.
I’m from Texas, spending a majority of my life in San Antonio and Austin. Needless to say, snow and ice are about as foreign to me as Saturn. I can count the number of snow angels I’ve made on one finger, and Central Texas’ brief brush with the polar vortex was enough to make me cancel any future trips north of Dallas.
But the weather has little to do with my hatred for Sochi, and I’m not even going to get started with the political issues surrounding the 2014 Winter Games. My major issue stems from the judges.
Nothing is capable of stealing the spirit of competition faster than turning to a judge. Any time a partisan grade is used to weed out the best from the rest, something is flawed.
Of course, not all Olympic events are judged, and I have no issue with those particular competitions. I don’t like any of them, but I don’t have a problem with them either.
As long as a time, score or distance are used to determine a winner, I can breathe easy, but today’s Olympics resembles a beauty pageant with individual preference skewing the playing field.
There are 17 events, resulting in 51 total medals, on the current Olympic program that are completely dependent on human subjectivity, and seven of the events are new to the Olympics this year.
I assume the people chosen to be Olympic judges are established and respected individuals with all the proper credentials to do their jobs. I’m not trying to say anything is fixed, although we all know the stories of infamous United States and Russian judges. I just hate anything that comes down to individual opinion.
I can’t take something seriously knowing the competitors only control a portion of their fate.
I love mixed martial arts, but nothing leaves a worse taste in my mouth than a judges’ decision. The rulings are often controversial and rarely satisfying for anybody involved.
Win or lose, I don’t understand how somebody can tirelessly work on a craft for years, striving to reach the ultimate stage only to have their efforts rest in the hands of someone who might be totally qualified, but slightly bitter at that particular moment due to a lack of coffee.
Again, I would hope all judges could maintain a level of professionalism at all times, strictly adhering to the criteria they are trained to objectively observe. I just don’t have my hopes up.
All people are flawed and have biases, and while someone might have the best of intentions, it does not guarantee they are accurate in all rulings.
The purpose of competition is to clearly determine a pecking order with overall winners and definitive losers. Without clear-cut evidence to support one person over another, the events lose credibility.
The Olympic games are supposed to be Earth’s athletic pinnacle. Instead, they are devolving and losing the true essence of competition.
So, call me unpatriotic, but I can’t wait for the Winter Olympics to go away, and I don’t care who ends up on top of the bogus medal count.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org