If anybody tried to come up with a carbon footprint for the XXX Olympiad, I guarantee you it would be watered down, politically sanitized or outright fudged if in fact it could get past the IOC without being charged a royalty or quashed entirely. How sad that it has taken several years since the Kyoto Protocols were put forth that a grudging acknowledgment has taken hold: that just maybe human activity as practiced today is not the best thing for the future of our planet's ecosystem. But does anyone under the thumb of Jacques Rogge dare bring that up in a meeting of the International Olympic Committee? Something tells me those gatherings are about as balanced a give and take as a Donald Trump reality show. Anyone who dares suggest a moderate or dialed back approach is told in no uncertain terms: "You're Fired!"
I spent a half hour trying to find out what the actual numbers are for the cost of the current games but gave up after being sent down one blind alley after another. The brick wall at the end of one blithely states: "The Olympic Games are privately funded." End of story; no further details will be given out to anyone. The public money sucked out of the budgets of struggling governments everywhere is on the order of $14 billion according to one article in the Canadian Press from May of 2012. How much of this ends up on the tracks or in the pools? More to the point: how much of it finances the lavish lifestyles of Rogge and his rogues' gallery of yes-men? No one ever will be told and no journalist will dare investigate for fear of being branded unpatriotic or worse: a potential terrorist! The International Olympic Commitee in partnership with the National Broadcasting Company has a lock-tight embargo on all information coming out of London and disseminated on US TV and internet sources so anyone who is not satisfied with the spin and distortion is simply invited to tune out and stay quiet.
My own plan to avoid all things Olympic this summer lasted until a few minutes before the replay of the opening ceremony. I acquiesced and warmed up the TV to see what Danny Boyle had cooked up for the world to watch. Four and half hours later, I was asking myself the same question someone in the Spanish press posed: "Are we the same species?" The reviewer who wondered that was referring more to the differences between Brits and Spaniards but I worry that I have become such a curmudgeonly iconoclast that I am missing some basic response mechanism that normal humans have.
What do you want to bet that somewhere in Mitt Romney's secret tax returns are kickbacks from the IOC to reward him for all that brilliant work he did to "save" the Olympics from ruin in Salt Lake City? Or would anyone even care if there were? That is probably the greater tragedy; that "going for the gold" is seen as an attribute, not the crime that it truly has become.