Olympics conflicts

I am rather conflicted about watching the Olympics this year.

Still, it is about the only opportunity we have to watch some less publicized sports.

After all, we can watch basketball or football (soccer), tennis, etc. all the time.

What I watch for are events such as ping pong, fencing, volleyball, handball, and, of course, track and field.  Sometimes weight lifting and wrestling are pretty interesting.  

It is fascinating to watch these rather more exotic (at least around here) sports at a very high level.

In the last week I was so busy that I couldn’t watch very much, but my DVR caught some programming.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Willebrord says:

    I rarely watch any TV, but I might for a few of the Olympic games. I do enjoy ping-pong (we just got a table ourselves), and it’d be nice to see that.
    I guess I’d like to see the fencing as well, only from a fencing-master I know and trust apparently Olympic fencing is some of that new-styled “suicide fencing” where all you care about is getting those points in time without taking enough time to defend yourself – which is the fundamental differents between European and Asian martial arts (in Europe, you defend yourself, and then dispatch your opponent; in Asia, particularly in types such as fighting with swords, there’d often be cases where both swordsmen were hit at the last moment).

  2. TJB says:

    It is a disgrace that China was every allowed to host the Olympics. The IOC should be ashamed of themselves.
    [I guess that’s a ‘no’ vote. – Fr. Z]

  3. Geoffrey says:

    Oh my, I’ve been up late every night watching the Olympics! I am not much of a sports fan, but for some reason the Olympics always draws me in. I didn’t find myself conflicted as I thought I would be, seeing where they are taking place and all. I tried to look beyond that and realize what the Olyimpic games are supposed to mean… the transcending of international politics, etc. I mean, wasn’t it moving when the Russian and Georgian athletes publically embraced as their countries went to war?

  4. dad29 says:

    You also miss Olympic shooting if you watch the MSM.

    The US won two golds (double trap and skeet) and a few silvers/bronzes.

    Competition in the pistol and rifle was fierce, with 1st-5th point spreads being around 10 or less of 700+ possible.
    [I have watched shooting before. I am especially interesting in Winter Olympics with skiing and shooting, biathlon. However, with the targets and all, it might be a little more interesting if they shot at each other… but… I think there is another name for that in international competition, isn’t there. Scratch that. – Fr. Z]

  5. TNCath says:

    Father Raymond De Souza has a thought-provoking article regarding this year’s Olympics:


    While I am happy for the success of the American athletes who have obviously invested a great part of their lives for this event, I find the amount of money we spend on athletics to be particularly troubling. This extends to all sports: be it professional sports or the Olympics.

  6. Jayna says:

    I used to be a competitive swimmer, so I’ve been glued to the TV every night watching those races, and because I used to play volleyball, the beach and indoor volleyball matches are on the menu as well. Those aren’t exactly “underground” sports, but they certainly don’t get much media attention at any other time than the Olympics.

    As to my conflict with watching the games, I’m watching to support the athletes because they’ve worked long and hard to get there and they deserve to be recognized for that.

  7. I would usually watch the Olypmics, but this year I have been quite conflicted as well. As I see it, this is 1936 all over again. How can a country with a disgraceful record of human rights violations, which they seem to be quite open about on top of that, be allowed to host such an important international event?

  8. Jason says:

    I love ping pong. I would be interested in a professional American ping pong league. I don’t watch tennis (it seems boring), but I would enjoy watching ping pong.

  9. oremus says:

    I wanted to watch the ping pong too.
    Just be forewarned, you may need some “white out” when watching the women’s beach volleyball.
    The men have shirts..one shirt probably has more material than all that was used for the US team.

  10. Carolina Geo says:

    I haven’t watched or cared about the Olympics since they added Synchronized Swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastics as events.
    [Yah.] The motto “Citius, altius, fortius” just doesn’t quite seem to apply to such events. Besides, it’s no longer any fun to watch when we don’t have the Soviets or the East Germans to root against.
    [No one? I can think of a couple.]

  11. Dominic says:

    The table tennis really has been magnificent – Who saw the German v Japan semi-final? Gripping stuff!

    Do I feel conflicted? No more than I do with anything to do with the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, and most other so-called ‘free’ countries. When we remove the beam out of the eyes of our own Godless countries (abortion laws, etc., being the litmus test in my opinion) then maybe we will be able to criticise other countries with some justification.

    In saying this, I am in no way overlooking the abuse of human rights in China or Tibet etc., but drawing attention to the fact that most other so-called ‘free’ countries act in a totalitarian way too insofar as they allow killing of the most defenceless. Let’s not kid ourselves that ‘we’ are the virtuous and the Chinese uniquely to be deplored.

  12. Mac McLernon says:

    This morning after Mass, a friend recounted how, in his office, there’s a TV in the corner permanently switched on so everyone can watch the Olympics.

    No-one paid any attention to it…

    …until the Women’s Beach Volleyball started up!

  13. Luke says:

    Being from Iowa, my family and friends and I are all very happy to see Shawn Johnson doing so well. Gymnastics is pretty cool to watch – especially the beam. The balance and precision that takes is amazing to think about!

  14. Jim says:

    I have made a point of not watching any of it. I’m pleased to report that the opening event made no impact on me whatsoever, apart from some radio news coverage and my morning newspaper, the day after which made me think of Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Fuhrer. I’m glad to have missed it.

  15. TJB says:

    [I guess that’s a ‘no’ vote. – Fr. Z]

    I didn’t realize that I was voting for sometihng.

  16. John Polhamus says:

    I’m not conflicted at all. Not to put too fine a point on it or anything, but if I want to watch “Pro-lympic” basketball all I have to do is watch the NBA any night of the week, which I don’t anyway. As much of a deal as the IOC made all those years about denying Jim Thorpe his medals because he happened to be talented enough to play any sport he needed to to make a pathetic living from time to time, their hypocricy makes me sick. As if Thorpe’s family receiving his medals means anything to him at this point…the American team isn’t fit to lace up his track spikes.

    That leaves aside the political dimension entirely, which is for another soap box. And then there is the question of technology…what the h*** kind of continuity does setting a world swimming record in a streamlined spandex body-suit have with either Duke Kahanamoku, Johnny Weismuller, OR Mark Spitz…or anybody else you care to mention? The answer is that it doesn’t. It turns it into another sport. The modern Olympics hold nothing for me, or the dreams of atheletic honour that I held as a youth. Worse than having no clothes, the “Pro-lympics” have no honour. None. So I haven’t watched. I’m going to Vespers instead.

    P.S. Let it be noted that I coined the “Pro-lympics” term on THIS blog. I want credit for that one!

  17. Rouxfus says:

    It was nice to see 100 meter dash world record gold medal winning Usain Bolt (Jamaica) making the sign of the cross before getting into the starting blocks.

  18. Westsider says:

    Quite a bit of talk about the olympics after masses, most notably mens outdoor soccer and womens beach volley ball. One female parishioner upset about sexist differences in beach volley ball uniforms, thought at minimum the men volley ball players should be shirtless. Either way, it does not seem to rise to the level of an official olympic sport regardless of attire.

  19. Karen says:

    Can anyone explain to me why beach volleyball is an olympic event. I understand volleyball, can’t quite wrap my brain around the beach stuff.

  20. mao now says:

    I am conflicted over the adoration given to athletes and sports “stars” in general. I watched some of the olympics, I applaud the athletes on their accomplishments. But as an aside, last nite I was invited to A game in our local Dome. The last time I was in this place was seeking refuge during Hurricane Katrina. As I looked up into the vastness of the Dome I thought, “Once upon A time Human beings built domes for the glory of Almighty God.” I also wonder how many folks have observed that curious Novus Ordo Phenomenon known as “dine and dash” whereby the Faithful make A mad dash out the doors immediately afer recieving communion. Usually to get home in time to see the game. Has it been any more widespread now that the Olympics are on TV? has anyone noticed?

  21. canon1753 says:

    I watched a young woman who was coached by my lifting coach (I’m a bit older…) who is from my hometown lift for the US at the Olympics. It was great to see Carissa do so well. I watched the end of the men’s team championship, and watched the pommel horse (again, what I did when I was a kid), and I watched some of the 100 meter heats (been there, got fat).

    I actually have caught a lot of the coverage on CBC from Canada (good coverage). I watched Carissa lift on the internet.

  22. Father, please tell me when you got see ping pong. We had to endure two and a half straight hours of the women’s marathon yesterday, much akin to watching paint dry, but I haven’t so far seen as much as an announcement from the networks that table tennis is even an Olympic sport.

    We were graced by 15 minutes of women’s sabre fencing on Thursday, but that was overshadowed by men’s synchronized diving (which I found rather disturbing for perhaps obvious reasons).

    And what about badminton? I can’t believe that Americans would find a two and half hours of ground pounding more interesting than badminton shuttlecocks being pommeled at more than 100 mph. But then how would Americans know when the networks are so cowardly to take a chance on the more “exotic” sports.

    Oh well… maybe a woman’s marathon goes better with beer and pretzels, and falling asleep on the couch.

  23. Luke says:

    It’s also been really fun to watch Bela Karolyi cheer on the US women’s gymnastics team. :D

  24. R says:

    I never watch NBC coverage. One of the perks of living near the border is getting to watch the Canadian broadcasts, and I’ve done so ever since the Atlanta games.

  25. Chris says:

    Yes, it’s a disgrace that China got the games. But there\’s something else that disturbs me.

    Even worse than ever before, what is with the dress of the women atheletes?

    Beach volleyball, running, heck, even poll vaulting. They are wearing less than typical underwear. And, the odd thing is, the men participating in the same exact sports are 10 times more covered.

    When did women atheletes lose all sence of shame or modesty?

    It’s sad that I can’t even let my young son watch the olympics anymore.

  26. Let us not forget the most covered Olympic event… Michael Phelps interviews. ;)

  27. Deusdonat says:

    Chris Yes, it’s a disgrace that China got the games. But there’s something else that disturbs me…It’s sad that I can’t even let my young son watch the olympics anymore.

    First, it is a disgrace China got the games. I have honestly lost all confidence and and respect in the Olympic process because of this. And it gauls me how this is such a non-issue for so many people.

    But regarding your remark on women’s apparel, I am a bit puzzled. I haven’t seen the games, but I have seen stills in news sites. I don’t think modesty or lack thereof has anything to do with the Olympics, given that the athletes are trying to wear clothes which are the least constrictive as possible. I honestly don’t get why the mens volleyball uniforms are so different either. But the women are definitely wearing as much as the swimmers/divers. So, I guess I don’t see the problem here. Do you sheild your son’s eyes everytime he is at a pool or on the beach? I honestly feel this is an unhealthy reaction to the human physique. Meaning, when you are playing sports, there are set uniforms/attire, just as when one is at a beach, swimming pool etc. This should be a moment where you can bring up appropriate vs inappropriate dress and explain that modesty is appropriate for church, school, walking on the street etc. vs when participating in certain sports, at the pool, etc.

    And maybe you should also count your blessings here…the original olympics were all played in the nude..although, granted, no females were involved *shudder*.

  28. Limbo says:

    Our family has boycotted watching any of the Chinese Olympics in horror and disgust.

  29. Lauren says:

    “It was nice to see 100 meter dash world record gold medal winning Usain Bolt (Jamaica) making the sign of the cross before getting into the starting blocks.”

    Comment by Rouxfus — 17 August 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    Really? That’s awesome! (Jamaican American Catholic here lol)

  30. Jayna says:

    “Can anyone explain to me why beach volleyball is an olympic event. I understand volleyball, can’t quite wrap my brain around the beach stuff.”

    Have you ever tried playing volleyball in the sand? Indoor volleyball is a cake walk compared to that.

  31. Speaking of horror and disgust… NBC just has a 5 minute spot on acupuncture, and Costas even managed to mention Jefferson Airplane and alluded to drug use. Awesome…

    … meanwhile, there were sporting events taking place…

    (OK, I’ll stop, now.)

  32. Frank H says:

    Somewhere in a blog I read the interesting note that the only other times that totalitarian regimes hosted the Olympics (Berlin 1936 and Moscow 1980) they were toppled within nine years! One can only hope!

  33. Westsider says:

    Seems like they are showing more sports and not as many dippy “human interest” pieces. Costas is very annoying, but surely NBC has done their market research and feel that he is bringing in the ratings. It’s all about viewership and selling advertising time.

    Limbo is your disgust from the fact that the Olympics are in China, or something about the games themselves?

    Deusdonat’s comment on attire is pretty good.

  34. Willebrord says:

    I find myself disagreeing with Deusdonat. It is my belief that swimsuits today are in general very, very immodest, to the point that I dislike going to beaches anymore. I do not mean any disrespect to the human body, as it is a creation of God, by shielding my eyes (or rather, looking away). However, willfully looking (or gawking) sexually at a person is sinful, and semi-accidentally looking at them is a perfect near occasion of sin. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” (and I value my eyes, thank you!).

    But to be honest, I’m assuming that that which is worn during the volleyball is similar to typical modern female swimwear, as I haven’t actually seen it myself, yet this year. Last time I paid any real interest to the Summer Olympics was in 2000. I pay a little more interest to the Winter Olympics as I prefer the sports there, but even then I don’t pay any attention. As it is, I have no idea what the day the Olympics started on, I only knew they were underway when people started talking about it — and that fact that I heard one athlete wouldn’t run due to the pollution ruining his lungs, and two other athletes stepping off the plane in gas masks.

  35. Deusdonat says:

    Willebrord – I find myself disagreeing with Deusdonat.

    Absolutely no crime in that : )

    I would say that I agree with you: anything that causes you an occasion to should be avoided. If seeing a woman in a bathing suit causes you to have impure thoughts, then by all means sheild your eyes. For me, seeing a beautiful woman in a bikini is just the same as seeing the same woman in sweatclothes at the gym or in a “power suit” at the office etc. Meaning, they can all be occasions to sin. Seeing one percentage of more flesh than another doesn’t necessarily topple my sin-o-meter. It’s my own conscience, will and morality that is to blame, and not how much clothes a woman walking by has on.

    If you look at art history, you see that at many times during history (Christian history) what was acceptible attire was far more revealing in some eras as opposed to others. So, it’s all subjective. And I refuse to bow to the Mohammedan mindset that all women must cover up in Abaya/Burkha style clothing; even at the beach, lest the sight of their skin turn men into rabid dogs like a pavlovian bell.

  36. As former captain of the high school seminary fencing team, I eagerly watch my favorite sport (THE sport of chivalry). I am dismayed, however, that Communist China is the host of the Olympics in light of their attrocious and reprehensible treatment of Papist Catholics (AKA the underground Catholic Church). It sickens me that our goverment will boycott Cuba (good) while bending over backwards to do business with Red China (bad). All that business does it create Communist Capitalists, i.e., millionaire commies while human rights for the unborn and for religion are trampled under foot. Perhaps the Olympics should be in TAIWAN some year???

  37. Luke says:

    I was very, very proud of our girls USA Gymnastics Team. Shawn Johnson definitely earned gold on floor exercise and I am still amazed that she got stuck with silver.

  38. Phelps_Phan says:

    Father, I’m a bit puzzled by your “conflicted” comment in re to the Games – especially because you are not ordinarily one who pulls punches. I wish that you could give us a better sense of why you are conflicted about these Olympics. Why leave us hanging?

    Anyway, the Holy Father has expressed best wishes for these Games on several occasions, most recently at a mass on August 3. I poked around google and found this: “I follow with deep friendship this great sporting event — the most important and awaited on a world level — and I wish that it offer the international community a valid example of coexistence among people of different background in the respect of common dignity.”

    I suppose that we could parse this in various ways, but why? If the Holy Father is following the Games with deep friendship (others translate that as “fondness”), why shouldn’t other Catholics?

  39. Deusdonat says:

    Father John – I agree with your take on the “good” vs “bad” commies. Cuba is by no means a Democracy or a “good” place regarding human rights. But as far as communist governments go, it has been relatively good to the church and faithful Catholics (witness the invitation and visitation by JP II). Unfortunately, the hypocracy you see stems from a small group of very p.o.’d Cuban exiles, in who’s mind it is still 1954. Their lobby is huge, and they are almost monolithically conservative, republican, anti-communist and passionately American when it comes to politics. Hence, they get what they want, and anyone who opposes their vision of what is best for Cuba is seen as a communist sympathiser or anti-American. And they want the boycott to continue at all costs until they get their way (i.e. total regime change).

    China’s situation is undoubtedly more comples (i.e. the whole mystery inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma cliche’). The US has always owed a debt of gratitude to China for helping the US to wait out the demise of the Soviet Union. So, starting with the ping-pong diplomacy of Nixon, all successive presidents have simply turned a blind-eye and whistled dixey when it comes to China’s repressive policies. I personally boycott all Chinese goods, even if it means paying more money when necessary. But as I stated in another thread, there is light at the end of the tunnel in that the commie Chinese govt does appear to be loosening their repression against Christians (even turning a blind eye to party members who become Christian).

    It is said that China measures time in centuries and deaths in the millions. But I think things are moving far more rapidly now in the age of information. So, we’ll see where things go.

  40. Christabel says:

    So, does anyone have any suggestions regarding the “new” sport which we in Great Britain will be allowed to include in the London Olympics in 2012? From the above posts I assume it should meet the following criteria :

    (a) be somewhat exotic;
    (b) be unspoiled by too much professionalism;
    (c) not be boring (see comments above ref. women’s marathon, badminton, etc.);
    (d) be impervious to the artificial assistance of technological advances, and
    (e) require modest and becoming outfits for both sexes.

    Croquet, anyone?

  41. Jane says:

    I am not much of a sports fan and the thought of the Olympic being held in China is unpalatable, but my husband is watching them and when I come into the room and see gymnastics I am spellbound. People who can throw their bodies around in the air like that, seem to be superhuman.

  42. Westsider says:

    Croquet is a wonderful sport, it would certainly be as worthy as some of the others that have been selected.

  43. Howard says:

    Ah, the nostalgia for the grand old days of pagan Greece! These were initially games in celebration of false gods. Today they’re celebrations of Mammon (“the official [soft drink, fast food, snack food, whatever] of the summer Olympics”). How times have changed!

    OK, I don’t really feel quite as strongly about it as it sounded, but I do wonder about the oh-so-wonderful “Olympic spirit”. And the celebration of Mammon is present in all of sports and much else, but the peculiarity of the athletes receiving nothing (not even a college scholarship!) for performances that make $$$ for the sponsors bothers me.

    When I was a child in the ’70’s and ’80’s, the Olympics were at least a more civilized catharsis for national pride than war — much like the Space Race. It’s not the same without the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.

    Finally, I wonder if cable TV and the internet haven’t really cut into interest in the Olympics. It used to be we had to watch whatever was on (or turn off the TV), even if it was a sport we weren’t interested in or a telethon. But now there are 50 other options.

  44. Andy Lucy says:

    As a former fencer and current air pistol shooter, I enjoy watching the few milliseconds that NBC is gracious to throw our way.

    As to China hosting the Games… well… Germany got them not once, but twice in the 1930s. The period of the Olympic Games is SUPPOSED to be about putting aside political rivalries and concdentrating on sport. Of course, as has been commented previously, that hasn’t really worked very well in the past, given the comments of missing the good old days with a USSR to jeer against.

  45. GREG says:

    I don’t think anyone cares about swimsuits or commies…Phelps will
    make 50 million or so in commercials and I wouldn’t be surprised if
    he was a good friend of a few pastors I know.

  46. Christabel: “New” sport? According to those criteria?


    How about some new form of bear baiting, but with people instead of dogs?

    I believe London had its bear baiting pits once upon a time. Thus, it is traditional!

  47. RBrown says:

    To me sports is about the performance in the competition. The beauty of the speed, finesse, and power in sports can be present regardless of what happens outside competition. If any participating (or host) nation is repressive, that has little to do with the sport itself.

    Obviously, we Americans romanticize sports too much, and it’s exacerbated by the absurd presentation by the sports media, who also somehow think they know what goes on in the mind of an athlete during competition. Personally, I have had too much experience of what goes on in competition (incl a big time college football program) to get all mushy about athletes.

    And then there are the countless interviews. Bob Costas announced forthcoming interviews with two teen age gymnasts as if he would be interviewing the Sec of State. I can enjoy watching them perform without thinking that it would be worthwhile to hear them speak.

    I don’t understand the to-do about the uniforms worn for women’s beach volleyball and track. They’re skimpy, but I don’t find them any more sexy than an anatomy book. Paul Creamer in a golf skirt? That’s sexy.

  48. Christabel says:

    Spot on, Father. The Bear Garden was situated right next to the Globe Theatre on the south bank of the Thames in Shakespeare’s day, when we still had bears running wild in England. Apparently the original productions of “The Winter’s Tale” used the real thing for the stage direction “Exit, pursued by a bear”. Exciting, what?

    These days the only bears we see are in London are in the financial markets (disconcerting), and the only bear baiting is our habit of seriously annoying the Russians (even more disconcerting).

  49. Guy Power says:

    Cristabel: So, does anyone have any suggestions regarding the “new” sport which we in Great Britain will be allowed to include in the London Olympics in 2012? From the above posts I assume it should meet the following criteria :

    (a) be somewhat exotic;
    (b) be unspoiled by too much professionalism;
    (c) not be boring (see comments above ref. women’s marathon, badminton, etc.);
    (d) be impervious to the artificial assistance of technological advances, and
    (e) require modest and becoming outfits for both sexes.

    That’s a no-brainer: RUGBY.

    And if (e) is thrown out, you can have rugby uniforms the size of the volleyball girls’ “tiny wee togs.”

  50. Guy Power says:

    Re Rugby as an Olympic sport …. I forgot to add: we must never allow them to sing any rugger songs!

  51. Paul says:

    Having spent time with Tibetan monks who were tortured at the hands of the Chinese government, I could not bring myself to watch such a disgusting display.

  52. Chris says:


    “I don’t think modesty or lack thereof has anything to do with the Olympics, given that the athletes are trying to wear clothes which are the least constrictive as possible.”

    This is the problem — the men’s versions of all the sports wear regular uniforms. You don’t see men’s volleyball players, poll vaulters, marathon runners, etc. in speedos and no shirt. Thus, there is no reason for women to dress in such a way.

  53. Louis E. says:

    (I assume the anti-spam word “LUNETTE” does not evoke the Big Comfy Couch)

    My respect for the Olympics has ebbed over the years as commercialism has ascended,but I’ve watched some events.I certainly regret Communist China being welcomed and chosen as a host while they still pretend to be entitled to govern the ROC/Taiwan.

    As far as the USCCB Summer Games…what identifiable anti-ineffables at http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/country/bus75.html may be replaced by pro-ineffables before the November meeting?

  54. I was dying to know what compelled the women’s beach volleyball teams to wear such skimpy outfits. So I asked my brother, who has coached volleyball at the high school level.

    Virtually all competitive sports at the Olympics are governed by rules set forth by international associations independently of the IOC; not only for the rules of play, but for competitive attire. In this case, the rules of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FVIB) stipulate that the women’s attire for beach volleyball must be in two pieces, top and bottom. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it’s tradition or convention, as in equestrian outfits (more modest, I will admit). But if you’ve really got the time on your hands, you can go here…


    …and download the rules. I’m still rather curious myself.

  55. Okay, I’m back. I read the rules, and they don’t say much, although some multinational games have made a controversy of immodest sportswear. Naturally, Wikipedia comes to the rescue. Pay attention to the footnotes:


  56. Rosie says:

    It is only sports. No olympics from Communist China. Not in this house. Never.

  57. Westsider says:

    So, Rosie, would you watch the Olympics from a war mongering state, for example the USA under Bush, Jr?

  58. pdt says:

    If you’re looking for a worthy sporting event, try watching some of the games of the Little League World Series, going on for the next week. The contest is that of kids anxious to play the game, without overtones of contract disputes or international politics. It’s a wonderful break.

    Sadly your Italian team has met its maker, but they did play some of the better ball we’ve ever seen from European teams. Try a game or two and you’ll be hooked.

  59. We few true Catholics representing Greater Asia and China, are very hopeful on religious enthusiasm for Catholicism in China and the region. We want the Traditional Latin Mass and we love the Latin traditions of Rome, despite what Paul the Sixth tried to prohibit.

    May God bless the true Catholic priests and bishops.

  60. James says:

    I am not watching them on principle. I think giving the Communist government there the Olympics, complete with a visit from our President, is basically rewarding them for their gross violations of the rights and dignity of men. Certainly it hasn’t given them any incentive to ease up; on the contrary, they no doubt spent the last couple years rounding up all the dissidents so there would be no “disturbances” during the games.

    The Chinese understand a few things. Economics; if we stopped doing business with them, it would get their attention (besides, their products are hazardous to health). Saving face; if they hadn’t been given the games, or if world leaders had refused to go there, it would have been a great embarrassment to them, and gotten their attention.

    My mom disagrees. She figures the Olympics are the time to set aside National differences and politics, and come together in good will. She points to various heartwarming stories about the athletes and says “that is what it’s all about.” She figures the games help the people of China to some degree, and of course, not watching will have no effect whatsoever anyway.

    I think people of good will can differ in their approach to this, and I don’t judge her for watching them.

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