I just happened to notice that at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, where the three American athletes gave the black power salute as they stood on the podiums after receiving medals, the Mexican government had killed between 200 and 300 students in the weeks leading up to the games. These students were protesting against the dictatorial policies of the one-party Mexican state. The CIA had reported to the U.S. government that the students had agreed to refrain from protesting during the Olympics. The Mexican government didn’t feel like waiting to find out. They didn’t want an embarrassment.
The Olympics loves to claim that they are “apolitical” and most rational people have realized long ago that that claim is utter bullshit: the Olympics are the expression of the hosting regime’s legitimacy and stature. Officials from governments of all participating countries glory in the success of their athletes. Audiences everywhere are only interested in events in which someone from their country has a shot at winning. Sports that favor a particular country (women’s soccer, for example, basketball) are included while other sports (buzkashi, for example) are not. It is absolutely saturated with politics.
Okay. Kill 200 – 300 students– no problem. The Americans were delighted to honor the Mexican government by participating.
Raise your fist, as if you don’t believe in America the wonderful, the blessed, the just?
It was Avery Brundage, the American president of the IOC, who insisted they be banned from the Olympic Village. (They did not, contrary to popular myth, have to return their medals.) Avery Brundage– who had no objection to the Nazi salute at the 1936 games in Berlin. I am not kidding. Brundage was a known Nazi sympathizer up U.S. entry into the war.
The U.S. Olympic Committee– to their credit– refused to ban them from the Olympic village until Avery Brundage threatened to ban the entire U.S. track team.
It’s scandalous. It’s absolutely scandalous. And don’t forget that the people who made that judgment– who decided that the Olympics should go on even if the Mexican government murders hundreds of students and even if the the Mexican government was a one-party dictatorship– and then decided that the these three black athletes should be escorted out of the Olympic village– these people were part of that large, large group of gratuitous sycophants and parasites called “the Olympic Delegation” and your tax dollars help pay for their hotels and champagne.
And they really should add Buzkashi to the roster.
[Yes, I know– in the U.S., most money for the Olympic teams is raised privately. But that’s not total cost of maintaining and supporting a national Olympic team. There are stadiums and universities. And because the donations to the Olympic teams is tax deductible– aren’t they?– you really are subsidizing them. ]