Volume 95, Issue 75

Thursday, February 14, 2002
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'Big Daddy' and the silent assassin fuel the Mustang basketball stampede

Is hockey still "our" sport

Congdon snaps at chance

A Western send-off to Salt Lake

Strip down and run

Strip down and run

The man from Nantucket
Colin Butler
Managing Editor

Ah, the Olympics they've changed a lot since the days of Ancient Greece.

Back then, Olympiads were only held in one place – Olympia. Greeks always won, since they were the only participants allowed. Everyone competed naked. There were no product placements. There was no hockey.

Now the Olympics are held all over the world, but usually in the city that has the supplest ass-kissing lips. The chances of a Greek winning a medal are the same as OJ finding "the real killer."

Olympics are as much about sport as marketing. There are summer and winter games and yes, there is hockey – otherwise known as the case for the existence of a God.

Though there are obvious differences between the Olympics of present and past, the message of the ancient Olympics was much the same as it is today. The ancient Olympics were the only time the Greeks ever came together without killing each other. The Ancient Greeks hated each other – city-states fought wars openly and often.

The Olympics back then, as now, attempted to bring the known-world together in the spirit of peace and friendly competition. But there is something lacking in the Olympics today, a quality missing from the great sporting spectacle of yesteryear – simplicity.

Could you imagine bringing one of those naked guys from Ancient Greece into the future to see what the Olympics have become?

The sheer size of the events, the amount of people, the size of the stadiums, not a single naked person, the amount of advertising, the amount of security, the fact that deodorant can't be used as a Popsicle – all these things would boggle his mind.

Now it seems Olympics are more about showcasing the latest in athletic gear or equipment, which host country can come up with the biggest and best opening ceremony or how much money the host city can spend wining and dining the International Olympic Committee.

All of it means big bucks and not necessarily sportsmanship.

This isn't to say the ancient Olympics weren't used to showcase wealth and power either, but it was simpler then – there was no product placement and there were no banned substances.

Without all the glitz and glamour of brand name sports gear or the latest controversy on performance-enhancing drugs, it's a hell of a lot easier to get wrapped up in the sheer sportsmanship. The courage, endurance, skill and sheer grit that make up an athlete were there for everyone to see, not to mention other things – they were naked.

Even though the modern Olympics do have their drawbacks, I feel the need to note something positive, since most people like happy endings.

The greatest comfort of the Olympics comes in the fact that the world can rise above their rivalries and come together in the spirit of athletic competition, even if everyone isn't naked.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002