When the Olympic Games arrive, many of us forget that Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s rescue of this entertainment of the classics sought to refound the values of non-professional sport. It was about putting skills to compete in order to bring out the best in normal people. That is why professionalism was banned, since it was not allowed that someone added economic benefits to a practice that was dreamed of being idealistic and purifying. So much so that even Jim Thorpe, an American sports star, was stripped of his decathlon and pentathlon medals won in 1912 at the Stockholm Games, after it was revealed that he had been paid to play baseball as a semi-professional when he went to college. 100 years later, this strict division between professional and amateur sports sounds impossible. At first, the degradation of the original idea came from the nationalist exaltation that countries instilled in the Olympics. Nazism and later the communist bloc perverted the sport in a war by other means. The commercial brands ended up giving priority to the show over any other value. And nothing can be reversed anymore, so you just have to have fun.
These games of the health pandemic in Tokyo are played without an audience, they say. But broadcasting is the foundation of the business. Investment in sports has avoided promoting school exercise, the training aspect, to focus on the factory of champions. If you are not able to be, you have the consolation of admiring them on TV, there is no middle ground. When you see the videos of the little Naomi Osaka condemned since the age of three with her sister to train eight hours a day on the tennis court, you are not filled with joy. Nor when you watch little Tiger Woods hit golf balls for hours in the garage at home under the strict gaze of his ex-father. marine. Far is a vision of childhood as a playful, irresponsible and fun paradise. Such is the demand to become a relevant athlete that in certain cases one falls into the temptation of sacrificing the childhood of some children in exchange for one day reaching the paradise of luxury and glory. Of course, all the spectators love to pale with amazement at who is precise, cold and brilliant in his sports performances. That is why the Olympics increasingly portray superhumans. With our unspeakable sadism we also enjoy watching them break into pieces and cry.
Alarmed by our own perversion, we celebrate a lot when the medal rewards a mother of a family who trains in the lost hours with her oars or a girl who practices martial arts with a cheerful and unaffected spirit. They are the reincarnation of what we thought sport was. A skill added to the rite of being a person. Too many times the skill is eaten by the person. We have demonstrated an impressive ability to strip many human activities of humanity. This is our great flaw. To it is added our great virtue, that of not recognizing limits or surrendering to obstacles. That is why the Olympic Games provoke contradictory emotions in us. We appreciate the splendor of triumph, but we sense the sheer number of broken children it leaves behind.