Were the Olympics always dumb?

There was some person on Reddit who complained about the Olympics going downhill in recent years because of all the corruption and scandals but I replied that they have always been dumb and he was just getting more mature and realizing it. Then I got downvoted like crazy.

This implies that people think there were some kind of “good old days” of the Olympics but I can’t identify or recall when that would be. Before the 90s, there was the Soviet Union and East Germany doping up kids like crazy, then in the 90s there was BALCO doping up US Athletes like crazy and now in our modern era all this corruption is being exposed and Russia still doping up their athletes like crazy.

So when were the Olympics great?

probably when the USA was great

1 Like

Back in the AO days, I remember doing a search on when the corruption of the Olympics started. I stumbled across this gem: The Ancient History of Cheating in the Olympics | History| Smithsonian Magazine

1 Like

I have always been bothered by the political aspects of the Olympics: the host country often trying to show the world that their system and beliefs are best. That goes back at least to the 1936 Berlin (aka Nazi) Olympics.

Clearly the politics of Mount Olympus is best


They’re the only ones that will pay for that kind of PR.

Zeus was a hard act to follow.

Probably just ignorant of the politics and doping, but in the 70’s I used to watch the Olympics with my grandmother. It was serious viewing business.
Granny bought me a signed copy of a pic of Canada scoring a winning goal. Then my mother left it behind when she moved suddenly. :frowning:. The Olympics were important enough that I still remember that picture.

Like the World Cup, I still enjoy the Olympics despite the corruption.

Part of the current “problem” is that there’s 1187 channels on TV. Part of it is that there’s not many compelling stories. Part of it is that to find the event you want to watch, you have to search through 14 channels that it’s scattered across and virtually no one is paying for PPV.

There’s also significantly more events, which dilutes attention. Beijing '22 had 109 events for the Winter Olympics; that will be 114 in Italy in '26. For comparison, Salt Lake City had 78; Lake Placid in 1980 had just 38. Tokyo had 339 events; Atlanta '96 had 271, Los Angeles '84 had 221.

Also not helping that the last 3 Winter Olympics have been in Asia and most events are going on in the middle of the night, so you’re finding out the following day and … again, nothing really compelling to say wow, that was incredible, I gotta watch that! and it was just as true for 2020 2021 in Tokyo. If Simone Biles had competed in all the events it would have drawn some eyeballs, but no one was racing to make sure they were tuned in to watch her not perform.

2028 might generate excitement, it’ll be here in the U.S. '24 is in France, '26 in Italy. 2030 might also get some excitement, if it goes back to Salt Lake City or Vancouver. But the days of it being “must watch” TV are long, long gone.