August 21, 2004
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Reader Sees More Hope For "Godless Capitalist"From: A U.S. Olympic Rower, 1988
As a former Olympic oarsman, the
first time I came across Steve Sailer`s writing was when
"Track & Battlefield,"
which he co-wrote a
number of years ago with
Professor Steve Seiler.
Since then, I`ve become
somewhat of a VDARE.COM junkie, and all kissing-up
aside, he is my favorite VDARE.COM contributor.
I retired from competition after
the 1988 Olympics. But I was vaguely aware that they`ve
tightened things up quite a bit since I quit racing, and
that nowadays, just because you make your
, it`s no longer a guarantee
that you`ll be competing in the Olympics. Even back in
the eighties, the
International Olympic Committee
[IOC] was rattling
, [Fédération Internationale
des Sociétés d`Aviron
the international governing body of rowing]. Understand
that it wasn`t happy, given that rowing garnered the
second highest medal count at the Olympics, right behind
track and field.
I sort of counted my blessings,
realizing that in today`s game, my boat, the American
quadruple sculls, likely would not have been given the
nod to compete in the Games.
But it wasn`t until just a few days
ago, when I came across an article in
that I began to see red. The behind-the-scenes deal
making goes like this: FISA, in an effort to assuage
the IOC, is on a PR mission to
, a very
(ahem: white) sport, appear more
widely embraced on the world stage than it is. Hence
the Asian, African, and Latin American
"Continental Qualifying Regattas,"
sixteen out of the allotted thirty slots for the men`s
single scull are awarded to second—or, more often than
not—third-rate scullers. [Underdeveloped:
Globalizing the Games, September, 2004, "The Growth
is impressive, even if the rowing isn`t"
How did we ever come to this?
, a ski jumper named
Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards,
or, more recently,
of Equatorial Guinea, who,
four years ago, competed (I`m being generous here) in
the hundred-meter freestyle?
Remember it? Moussambani`s only
competitors in the opening heat had both been
disqualified for false starts, leaving Moussambani to
race alone, against the clock. At Sydney`s sold-out
natatorium, the crowd first scratched its head at the
sight of a swimmer who could barely swim, next laughed
out loud when a bona fide Olympian began doing the
doggy-paddle, and then held its breath, wondering
whether or not this newcomer would finish the race
But finish he did—more than a
minute behind the heat winners—and no one seemed to
mind. The crowd was on its feet, cheering wildly for a
different sort of Olympic hero, a David, if you will,
who had the guts to face the giants of the sport, all in
front of a worldwide audience.
At that moment, I`d wager that
millions upon millions of people around the world were
wiping their eyes. I know—I was one of them.
But while Mr. Moussambani`s
personal triumph ought not to be dismissed, the question
begs to be asked: What
was a man who
could barely swim doing at the Olympics, going up
against the world`s best, when literally a billion
people from around the world would likely have bested
him in the event?
Many a time it`s been said that
making it to the Olympics isn`t just about winning—it`s
about the getting there. But in this, the twenty-eighth
modern Olympiad, just exactly where is it that we`ve
arrived? Is it okay with everyone that a Russian or
American man—both of whom might have been two or three
lengths back, in fifteenth or sixteenth place, say—will
sitting at home
, watching TV, as a man from Tunisia
flounders about in his shell, some twenty lengths
behind, placing twenty-seventh out of thirty in a
Me, I got no problem with the whole
thing, about manufacturing Kodak moments to help promote
"the human element inherent in sport."
As long as, that is, they reserve
lane one in the 100-meter track finals for George
Costanza from Seinfeld
And while we`re at it, we probably
ought to reserve lane eight for
of American Idol
. Doubt if the dude can run, but man—oh, man—he
Steve Sailer comments:
It`s worth amplifying the reader`s point: the competitive
threat to the current Olympic sports does not come out
of the burgeoning Third World, but from suburbia.
beings have always made up games, but in the history of
sports there have been two golden ages of creativity and
Victorian Britain and its
offshoots: rowing, tennis,
golf, rugby, soccer,
track & field, swimming, and so forth.
Victorian sports make up most of both the Olympic
and the major professional sports. This is
particularly true in Third World countries, where the
dominant sport is typically is
not surprising that the older Victorian sports like
rowing are trying to fend off the extreme sports with a
PR offensive to make their participants look more
diverse than they really are, by letting in participants
from countries like
Tunisia that barely have any rivers. Of
course, the Tunisian rower who gets admitted to the
Olympics in place of a faster American or German isn`t
likely to be terribly diverse in a class sense. He
probably got interested in rowing while attending
Peter Brimelow adds:
Olympics are on?
current "X Era" that began in the Southern
California suburbs after WWII when surfers invented
skateboard. This process keeps mutating
into endless variations like snowboarding and
windsurfing that stress not the old-fashioned Olympic
triad of "swifter, higher, stronger" but the new
extreme sport dyad of balance and having parents with
a generous health insurance policy covering unlimited
emergency room visits.