Human Endeavour

The International Olympic Committee issued a statement this week declaring the armbands and stickers that some athletes were wearing to commemorate dead relatives or colleagues inappropriate for the games, saying “the competitions themselves, which are a place of celebration, are probably not the right place to really do that”. Both the Norwegian female cross-country team as well as the Canadian female freestyle skiers were warned against displaying such tributes on their person while competing, banning their tributes to a fallen family member of one Norwegian competitor and Sarah Burke, who died while training in Utah two years ago.

On the surface, I can understand why the IOC would take such a step; if you allow tributes such as these, you are also opening the door to shows of political or religious expression that would completely change the face, and spirit, of the games. The fact that such a thought would even be the natural extension of a respectful show of solemn remembrance for the passing of another human being is vulgar, and, unfortunately, pretty realistic. But, if you look a little closer, the real undercurrent in the Olympics can be seen through this superficially considerate act of neutrality, and that undercurrent is even more vulgar.
Read more