Monday, July 11, 2005

More Neil Steinberg...

Let's try a little thought experiment, shall we?

I put a big bag containing $1 million in crisp new $100 bills in front of you and promise that it's yours if you correctly answer this question: What city hosted the summer Olympics in 2000? Only five years ago ... and a million bucks is yours ... could you do it? Me neither. Which is why, even before the London attacks, all of New York let out a collective sigh of relief after the International Olympic Committee, a scary bunch of Eurotrash if ever there was one, decided to hand it to London in 2012 — I bet they're looking forward to that now. I won't bother exploring the many other reasons New Yorkers are happy — money saved, inconvenience avoided, to name two.

But I will point out how superfluous the Olympics have become. Back before the Soviet Union fell apart, the Olympics had a certain dramatic tension — would we beat the Russkies? Was that East German lady weightlifter really a man?

Now they're just a cattle casting call for the next two years of Nike ads. Host the Olympics? I wouldn't even want to watch the Olympics. Think of the events. Swimming. Pole vaulting. The high jump. All fine activities — for high school and college athletes to participate in, and for their friends and families to watch. But for other people? Strangers? Did you ever say to yourself, "What I'd really like to do this weekend is watch a javelin toss?" Bet not. And I haven't even mentioned gymnastics. Those poor little girls. What kind of twisted parent would permit their child to toss away youth irretrievable trying to land a triple flip? Again, fine for a 5-year-old at the Parks Department. At the Olympic level, it's child abuse.

I won't keep you in suspense: Sydney, Australia, hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics. And no, you don't get $1 million if you knew the answer. I was being hypothetical.

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