Monday, 2 August 2010

To go or not to go

I've been planning to volunteer for the 2012 Olympics for a long time. I'm too late to take qualify as an FIE (world-class referee) for the fencing, but there's probably something I can do.

So I filled in all the forms, which took 40 minutes because the website is so badly designed. Then, on the very last page: a McDonald's logo. No previous mention, though perhaps I should have known. It's there on the webpage now, though I went through British Fencing.

'MacDonald's has supported the Olympic Movement for more than 30 years and we share many of the same ideals.'
IOC President Jacque Rogge
Turin, February 7, 2006

Oh dear. Either the IOC's ideals include making billions with little regard for the health of its consumers and the wellbeing of its workers (minimum wage, union-busting), or MacDonald's really is a big fan of corruption, patronage and physical perfection.

It's a real dilemma. I strongly disapprove of junk food manufacturers associating themselves with sport, even an organisation as morally compromised as the Olympics (e.g. here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, this BBC timeline of corruptionherethis compendium of disgraceful shenanigans, and this scandalous story in particular.

Perhaps it's a bit too much to expect clean hands and morality from an organisation  with so much money and patronage to dispense, led for so long by unrepentant (and official) fascist and roller-hockey honcho Juan Antonio Samaranch, from his 5-star hotel in Switzerland (here he is in 1974, giving the old Nazi salute), or by Avery Brundage the American Nazi cheerleader, mysogynist anti-semite who took Jews off the US team in 1936, campaigned against female inclusion, made sure that a former opponent was unjustly stripped of his medals, supported 'Rhodesia' (white-rules Zimbabwe) against exclusion attempts and expelled Smith and Carlos from the 1968 Olympics for their Black Power salute, despite supporting the Nazi pageantry and salutes of 1936.

Should I volunteer to help my sport at what is still the greatest competition on earth, or is it too tainted by 'presenting partner'? Does one person's participation or not matter in the slightest? What do you think?

(I know, it's just me going on as usual. I actually love sport - but I find it difficult to separate it from its political and cultural contexts. And football's worse - FIFA's a disgrace).


Ewarwoowar said...

I'd still go for it, Vole. Past corruption is hardly going to change whether you're there or not, is it? And it's a once in the lifetime thing blah blah.

PS. "this disgraceful compendium of shenanigans" is the best sentence I've read all year.

The Plashing Vole said...

I probably will.
I just like the word 'shenanigans'.

The Plashing Vole said...

It's a nice sentence, but wrong. I'll correct it: it should read 'compendium of disgraceful shananigans', as the book's quite good.