Posts Tagged ‘Olympic Trials’

Baron de Coubertin was a French aristocrat born to a strict Catholic Jesuit family, who grew up in the world of the French Third Republic, when the purpose of an aristocrat was no longer clear. He was a man searching for a mission. In the emerging sport cultures of North America and Britain, he comes across the contribution of sport to the transformation of nations and humanity. Above all, what he finds there is the idea of the “gentleman sporting amateur aristocrat.” When he came up with the idea of reinventing the ancient games of Olympia in a modern guise, his vision was to create a display of manly virtue—an incredible phrase, but that’s how he described it [Laughs]—in which the moral, athletic, and physical brilliance of amateur sporting gentlemen would provide not only the esprit de corps and energy they required to go on and rule their various empires, but an elevating example to the rest of us.”


In 1894, de Coubertin used every bit of leverage and financing he could muster to reinvent the modern Olympic Games. Athens was the first site for the games in 1896, and the Baron became the second IOC President. It’s important to note that this was mostly a man’s playing field; it wasn’t until 1968 that women were allowed to compete in any Track and Field event longer than 200 meters. We were thought to be too delicate!

But this morning something smells rotten in Tokyo, and it’s not just so many volunteers quitting over Covid.

We women, who were supposed to politely clap for male athletes, now make up 45% of all the Olympic teams around the globe! And there was an orange-hair super star about to make track and field history who was suspended yesterday for failing a drug test.

Sha’Carrie Richardson, a 21 year old African American woman, was favored to bring back gold this summer. Unfortunately, she used marijuana back in the states – in a weed-legal state – to help her cope with the news of her biological mother’s death. Her time in the Olympic trials for the 100 meter sprint was 10.86 SECONDS.

Back before Title IX, I used to win the 50 yd dash at camp, which is about half that distance, high on Pepsi, followed by a whole pizza!

Still, I get it. Look at Michael Phelps. Phelps was suspended for a short time simply because a picture of him with a bong at a party surfaced. He never tested positive for THC. But his suspension came in between Olympic trials, so of course he went on to win a gazillion gold medals.

Would someone please explain to me how smoking weed would increase your desire to run or swim faster?

Let’s add some insult to another Olympic trial. The International Swimming Federation has ruled it illegal for Black athletes to wear “Soul Caps.” I’d never heard of these swim caps, specially designed by a Black-owned business to hold a lot of hair!

“The original swimming cap, designed by Speedo 50, was created to prevent Caucasian hair from flowing into the face when swimming. Danielle Obe (a member of the Black Swimming Association) said the caps did not work for afro hair, which “grows up and defies gravity… We need the space and the volume which products like the Soul Caps allow for. Inclusivity is realising that no one head shape is ‘normal.'”

Again, how would stuffing a lot of hair into a larger swim cap improve your performance? Don’t male swimmers shave their whole bodies just to cut milliseconds off of their times?

The days of the “gentleman amateur” athlete may be over, but the modern Olympics have survived bouts of corruption within the ranks and racially insensitive, weird “tribal games” in St Louis in 1904. The Berlin Games of 1936 proved a watershed moment for democracy and diversity. But today, more and more cities are reluctant to bid for the games because of its enormous cost; not just financial but also the social cost of displacing mostly poor, inner-city residents.

I’ll be staying home this Fourth of July weekend, playing Super Big Boggle with Bob, eating hot dogs with the Grands, watching fireworks from a parking lot, and trying to improve my time doing rehab exercises. A 50 yard dash in a pool may be doable?

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