WHEN the modern Olympics Games were formed -- let alone the ancient ones -- the world was in thrall to that most Victorian of ideals: the Corinthian spirit.
There was, indeed is, something very appealing about the idea of the gentleman (or amateur) sports person – here in Ireland the entire GAA is founded upon the principle – it is, nevertheless, fundamentally at odds with that other Olympic principle: Faster, Higher, Stronger.
To achieve that the limits need to be pushed further and further. Professionalism being the logical conclusion. Professionalism leads to money. Money leads to greed and pride.
Greed and pride lead to corruption and cheating and what we're left with is the shell of a once great concept driven by an international cabal of bureaucrats and marketing men, who have so much power and influence that governments – and we don't mean tin pot dictatorships here – are willing to change their laws to accomodate the games. That's tragic.
So enjoy the games. Enjoy the spectacle, but be aware of the grubby business behind the high minded spin.