Rio Represents Olympism at Its Worst
by Stephen Lendman
Olympism is more about hype, profiteering, and exploitation than sport at its best.
This year, it resembles militarization seen in war zones with tens of thousands of soldiers, police and other security operatives infesting Rio, the site of the games – hosted by an illegitimate US-supported coup d’etat regime.
Mass street protests rocked opening night, continued on Saturday, perhaps remaining unrelenting through the August 21 closing ceremony – media scoundrels downplaying or ignoring them.
Among the NYT’s top commented on reports and commentaries, nothing on Rio rage, nothing on the coup d’etat regime hosting this year’s games, nothing on billions of dollars spent while imposing crushing neoliberal harshness on Brazil’s poor and disadvantaged at a time of the country’s most dire economic conditions in half a century.
Instead, The Times featured America’s men and women basketball teams housed on a luxury liner. The Washington Post covered athletic contests alone. Wall Street Journal reports were similar.
Justifiable mass outrage in Rio’s streets, demanding its coup d’etat regime resign, were ignored. One sign displayed reflects overwhelming public sentiment, saying “FORA TEMER (out Temer, the illegitimate interim president).”
Telesur said Washington sent over 1,000 intelligence operatives (spies) to Rio – citing NBC News quoting National Intelligence director James Clapper’s spokesman, Richard Kolko, saying “US intelligence agencies are working closely with (their) Brazilian (counterparts) to support their efforts to identify and disrupt potential threats to the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Hundreds of other US security personnel were sent, together with Brazilian operatives turning Rio into an armed camp, an inhospitable venue for sport, tourism or anything else, especially for city residents.
As a young boy in the 1940s when my dad took me to Red Sox games, the only police around Boston’s Fenway Park were traffic cops – perhaps things much different today and for Chicago sporting events where I now live. I haven’t been to one since I took my own children to see the Cubs and White Sox many years ago.
Obama devoted his weekly address to the Rio Games, suppressing what most needed highlighting – instead featuring meaningless comments like “we’re ready to root on Team USA,” claiming it “reminds the world why America always sets the gold standard.”
His remarks make painful listening – demagoguery substituting for straight talk.
Talented young athletes represent the best in sport. Olympism disgracefully exploits them for huge profits.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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