Saturday, August 14, 2004

Olympics - same old crap

One day into the Olympics and its fascinating to see the hype being churned out. An example being this piece in The Canberra Times by Doug Conway who writes;

ATHENS: The country where the Olympics were born and reborn reclaimed the Games early this morning from the country that saved them.
No-one does history better than the Greeks.

Doug then goes on to point out that;

The host city's most famous landmark, the Parthenon, is at 2500 years 25 times older than federated Australia.

And the Olympic Games are even older than the Parthenon, dating back to 776 BC.

I don't want to be petty but Greece has only been a sovereign state since 1832, not that you would have gathered that from the Olympic opening ceremony, which seemed to concentrate on classical greece with only a brief glimpse of the Byzantine era. The four centuries under the Ottomans and the last 170 turbulent years as modern greece didn't seem to exist. Are the Greeks playing out the 19th century kitsch fantasies about classical greece being the cradle of civilisation that resulted in the start of the modern olympics.

Every Olympics has a theme and the greeks have revived the concept of the
olympic truce
that was initiated between the various greek states in classical times.

The concept of an Olympic truce began in the ninth century B.C., when the city-state of Elis arranged a treaty, or a cease-fire, with two other city-states. As the Games approached, citizens of Elis traveled throughout the Greek world to announce the monthlong truce. War stopped, and athletes, artists and their families were allowed safe passage through hostile territories seven days before the Games and seven days after.

However the United States has stated that the Olympic Truce does not apply to Iraq, so while half a dozen Iraq athletes made their appearance in Athens the US was attacking an Iraq city.

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