Olympic business

Government officials involved in organizing the Olympic Games do not have to tire themselves out with too much talk, with nationalistic moralizing, with shows of respect for the «Olympic ideal» and so on. What they do need to do – in cooperation with the Athens 2004 organizing committee – is to achieve their goal of efficiently organizing the Games next year. This project has nothing to do with any «ideal,» but with the organization of a major international «racket» at a festival for international sports business. In 1997 Greece, following the persistent demands of its government, assumed the responsibility of hosting this festival known as the Olympic Games. Naturally, in order to achieve this privilege, Greece did not fail to internationally promote the fact that the Olympic idea was born here thousands of years ago. (This fact is not particularly moving for many Greeks as the Olympic idea has long been abandoned by both state officials and sports enthusiasts alike.) That is not to say that there are not athletes and supporters who believe in the moral value of athletics and in the significance of the Olympic spirit. But although these athletes are the protagonists of next year’s Games, it is others who determine the form and organization of these Games. Whatever the athletes may think about Olympic rivalry, they are obliged to cohere to the demands of the Games’ international organizers.