zaterdag 22 februari 2014

A better Olympic ranking

The individual participation of athletes has been included in the Olympic Charter from the beginning[1], introduced by Pierre de Coubertin himself. His ideal was that sports would form a counterweight to the exploding nationalism at the end of the 19th century. The Charter explicitly forbids publication of ranking by country by the IOC[2].

Since the beginning of the modern Olympic era countries have hijacked the Olympic ideal. Worst examples were the Nazi games in 1936 and the various boycotts in the 80’s. Organizing of, or participating in the games has been used to promote the alleged advantages of a country or its governmental structure. In that sense, politics has always ruled the games.

Additionally, in the past few years it has become clear that “nationality” is not an immutable concept in sports[3]. Vic Wild and Victor An are no Russians (and An was not named Victor at birth). Supposedly the Russians outbid the Americans for An. Another American has wilfully acquired Columbian (!) citizenship[4], in order to participate in the Sochi Olympics. He eventually failed to qualify, but the procedure had come to completion.

Following the sport –so it seems- various European countries have offered citizenship for money[5].

In spite of all this, rankings by country are always published during the Olympic games, and there is a `winning` country. This is wrong for obvious reasons. There are far better ways to compare groups of people without deeper meaning.

I propose to replace the country ranking by a ranking according to Zodiac sign. Nationality and citizenship are for sale, and one´s birth date is not so easily changed.

Aquarii everywhere, unite! There is a lot to be gained, also for sports journalists. I cannot wait to see their analyses!

[1] Olympic Charter, Section 6.1: “The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries [...]”,
[2]Olympic Charter, Section 57 Roll of Honour: “The IOC and the OCOG shall not draw up any global ranking per country […]”, ibid.
[3] A thorough analysis is in: Shachar, A., "Picking Winners: Olympic Citizenship and Global Race for Talent" Yale Law Journal 120 (2011), 2088-2139

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten