Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I have written before that I think the Olympic Games are a sideshow to the main sports events, which are the world championships in each event. The world championships, not the Olympics, by definition are where we see the best. Jack Gallagher thinks otherwise in his Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Japan Times story “Worlds better held before Olympics as a qualifier.” Calling the Olympics “a marquee competition” I think shows complete misunderstanding of the origin, evolution and function of the modern Olympics. I admit that the Olympics look like the world’s prime sporting event. But they only look that way. In fact they are largely a media artifice.
So rather than holding the world championships as a qualifier for Olympic participation - a kind of quality control device - it ought better to be the other way round. The fact that four of the six skating singles medalists from the recent Sochi Olympics will not be competing in the upcoming world championships in Saitama is neither here nor there. In fact, it tends to make me think that those medalists may have been illegitimate participants in the Olympics to begin with. I mean, if they don’t participate in and place well in the world championships then they can’t really be so great after all, can they?
Olympic advocates might say that I am the one who misunderstands sports and that my well known antipathy disqualifies my opinion. That is a strategy to disenfranchise people from their rights because even if I am wrong (which I may be) I still have a right to think what I please and, with few exceptions, to say it also. I don’t have anything against sports as such. I enjoy kicking a ball around as much as the next guy. What I oppose are mandatory sports in school and inescapable, overbearing, in-your-face athletic brouhaha everywhere else, because sports are actually not very important in the greater scheme of things. They are a leisure activity. Let’s keep them that way.
Published on Thursday, March 27, 2014 as “A sideshow to the main event."
As a professional sports writer Jack Gallagher is invested in the Olympic brouhaha which automatically prejudices his position and affects his credibility in my opinion.