A sideshow to the main events

I have written before that I think the Olympic Games are a sideshow to the world championships for each event. The world championships, not the Olympics, by definition are where we see the best. Jack Gallagher thinks otherwise in his March 19 column “Worlds better held before Olympics as a qualifier.

Calling the Olympics “a marquee competition,” I think, shows a 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 to be the other way round. The fact that four of the six skating singles’ medalists from the recent Sochi Olympics [were not] to compete in this week’s world championships in Saitama is neither here nor there. It tends to make me think that those medalists might 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, can they really be so great after all? Olympic advocates might say I am the one who misunderstands sports and that my well-known antipathy disqualifies my opinion. That’s a strategy to disenfranchise people from the right [to disagree]. …

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.

grant piper
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.