People around the world love the Olympics. The Games bring nations together and promote peace through friendly competition. They tell life-affirming stories of humanity's endurance and drive and the capabilities of our bodies. They bring joy to so many that we need to devise some way to stop them from also bringing so much pain in the form of billions of dollars of debt.
Toronto is considering a bid for the 2024 Olympics -- Mayor John Tory says he's still mulling over the economics of it all. The hard reality is that scholarly research on the economic impact of hosting the Olympics is not encouraging. The vast majority of studies show either no impact or a negative impact.
The September 15 deadline to bid for the 2024 Olympics is a big deal that boosters everywhere are downplaying. In Toronto, they are telling us not to worry, saying it's just a letter -- an "expression of interest" -- and that the letter doesn't mean anything. Elsewhere, no one is saying anything about that date at all. But September 15 is a big deal, and bid cities everywhere should be concerned.
To say that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) "shook things up" with Agenda 2020 is a gross understatement. Agenda 2020 voided and obscured critical sections of the Olympic Charter and the Olympic Games Framework, the IOC's two main documents for how to bid for and host an Olympic Games. It didn't just shake things up. It changed the entire game plan.
Vladimir Putin posed as a protector of children, while making gay youth outcasts in their own country. The IOC posed as an organisation above politics, while unabashedly bending national politics to its commercial interests. Barack Obama posed as a defender of human rights by grappling with foreign governments, while he shied from the fight in domestic politics.
The Calgary Board of Education has recently opened the door to the naming of classrooms to corporate sponsorship. Naming of classrooms or programs leads to some very fundamental questions about public education and has many drawbacks. One of which is if you allow Coca Cola a five year deal on a school gym, why not another school sponsored by Pepsi? If they can sponsor a high school gym, how about a junior high? A middle school? An elementary?
The opening stuff before the parade of athletes was weird, bizarre, peculiar, odd, curious, offbeat, outlandish, eccentric, unconventional, unorthodox, queer, unexpected, abnormal, atypical, unusual, out of the ordinary, extraordinary, remarkable, puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling, inexplicable, incongruous, irregular, singular, ludicrous, comical, ridiculous, droll, deviant, aberrant, grotesque, freakish, surreal, wacky, oddball, way out, freaky, off the wall, rum, wacko, and bizarro.
For the first time, two Saudi Arabian women have publicly stated their interest in participating in the Olympic movement. But the Middle Eastern nation has never sent a female to the Olympics and doesn't plan on it anytime soon. There are currently 153 youth leagues supported by the Saudi government, yet all blatantly exclude female participation. Is it time for the Olympic Committee to take a stand?