The times are always changing that is true and The Olympics is no exception.
Some of us may remember when the Olympics were Totally Amateur. Yes Countries like the USA, DDR and the USSR would abuse the system by putting athletes in College or in the Army where they could train full time. In GB that was not the case we treated being an Amateur with great pride, to us the Olympics was not about money but was about struggling against the odds, funding was limited and hard work was the order of the day the true British Spirit. No we did not win many medals but we Brits had pride in our athletes just for competing and a medal was an added bonus with the medallist being treated as Hero’s. As someone who was a reserve for 1980 Olympics in Judo a complaint was made against me because I coached Judo as living this they said made me a Professional and I had to go through an investigation, which the accusation was rejected.
Now we have a Millionaire anti English Tennis Player carrying the Banner for Team GB we have Millionaire athletes competing, many athletes of all sports earn money from advertising and promoting various objects and services. UKSport pour money into certain Olympic sports. All of this has produced GB gaining many more medals. Yet this has been at the detriment of Non Olympic Sports and those Olympic Sports who do not win medals who receive little or No government support.
When the Olympics were an Amateur event we Brits would criticise the USA, DDR and USSR for using the Games as a Political Event to promote their own Political system. The idea being who ever won the most medals must have the best country, ridiculous you say but since then many countries including the UK have fallen into the trap. British Olympic Committee and British Government now associate success with medal tally rather then the amount of athletes in the UK competing and the benefit to the country as a whole. The Olympics by definition is elitist but in Amateur days the person who had a Job, supported a family could dream of being an Olympian this cannot happen to day.
The Olympics is rightly called the Greatest Show on Earth it has become a show for people to make money and promote ideology BUT is it just a Sporting Event? The Olympics has become more political then ever the banning of Russia on the doubtful claim that the Russian Government organised Drug abuse is proof that certain countries have undue Political Influence over the I.O.C.
As you can see by the tone of the letter I would like to return to the days of amateurism but this will not happen and if GB is to attract athletes to compete in this event we have to accept that they must be paid for what they do. Olympics is not just about sporting ability is also an entertainment industry and just as Film Stars, Pop Stars and entertainers are paid large sums of money so should an athlete be paid well.
Because large sums of money are involved you will get corruption and you will get Athletes taking drugs both will never be eradicated only diminished