Fifty five years ago, I loved to watch the winter and summer Olympics. I watch less than one hour total today.
Several events in the winter games used to grab my attention; some of the final events in ice skating, the downhill, slalom and giant slalom, and of course ice hockey were events I didn't miss. Of those events, the one I never watch now is hockey.
In 1980, I shed tears as the U.S. team beat the Russians and then Finland for the gold medal. They were comprised of a group of college players, who had not previously played together. It was a super-human effort, and the nation rightfully applauded their efforts.
Today the hockey games are played by professionals. This is wrong on so many levels. Professional players lack the intensity of the college men. Playing professionals says to me that "winning is everything,' which is diametrically opposed to the supposed Olympic ideal. Why should the United States Olympic Committee pay professionals to be on the team in the form of travel and lodging, etc.?
Basketball in the summer Olympics is an even greater tragedy.
Playing basketball was my passion. I watched the college games, dreaming that someday I might play on one of them. That never happened. However, when the Olympics came, I was extremely excited. I would get to watch the best college seniors in the nation represent their country against all others under the watchful eye of the world. These young men would live a dream.
Today the Olympic team consists of professional players. I believe that is a travesty. I believe, win or lose, our college seniors should once again be given the opportunity to wear the red, white, and blue.
The once great Olympics are little more than a joke now. They have little interest for me. What were supposed to be amateur games, with the best athletes from each nation representing their country, has become a contest to see who wins the most medals. In other words, the games have been politicized. And the one thing we don't need more of is politics.