Monday, August 18, 2008

Gimme Those Old-Time Olympics?

In so many ways, the modern Olympic games are far different from their ancient progenitors and becoming more different every year.

The ancient Olympics were built upon the physical abilities of human beings. Technology plays a greater role with each successive quadrennial tournament. In 2008, we've seen the technological aspect of the competition extend even to the material composition of the swimwear. It is truly incredible how the Olympics have come to represent a partnership between the jocks and the geeks!

The ancient Olympics incorporated only a few games, but the modern games involve a dizzying array of "sports." Who knew that jumping on a trampoline was an Olympic event? As I was saying to Tracy a few minutes ago, the Olympics includes several sports that I really enjoy watching for one game every four years. Men's table tennis? I'm not paying for season tickets, but I sincerely enjoy taking in a game or two during the Olympics. With such diversity of contests, there's something for everyone to watch and enjoy.

The original Olympics did not, to my knowledge, involve any prizes awarded according to the subjective analysis of "judges." You either crossed the finish line first, or you didn't. You either threw the javelin the farthest, or you didn't. We've injected a new level of controversy into the modern Olympics by having an ever increasing number of sports in which panels of judges award medals based upon sometimes-so-obviously-flawed judging systems.

Nations did not issue passports—false or genuine—for their athletes in ancient Greece.

But for all the ways that the modern Olympics are advancing further and further away from the original Olympics, I can identify one way in which our modern games are with each iteration coming so close to the original Olympic ideal. It came to me as I was watching the American women's volleyball team last night and then the U.S. women's hurdlers tonight:

The original Olympians competed naked.


Baptist Theologue said...
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Baptist Theologue said...
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Baptist Theologue said...

Paul apparently watched the Isthmian games while he was at Corinth in about 51 AD. He seemed to be referring to those games when he wrote 1 Cor. 9:24-27. I have been wondering if the athletes in the Isthmian games still competed in the nude when Paul watched them. Rome destroyed Corinth in 146 BC, and Julius Caesar decided to rebuild it in 44 BC. Corinth was a Roman colony at the time Paul was there. The Romans did not like their athletes to compete in the nude.

M. Steve Heartsill said...

I've seen a few of the contests this year...and trust me, who'd want to see the competitors naked anyway!


Tim G said...

Baaaaaaaaaaad!!! :) But funny!

Pastor Mike said...

You make me laugh. Thanks, I needed it.

The Soul Theologian said...

Watching this Olympics was disappointing for me. There were no break out boxers from the United States. The United States appeared unorganized in the heart of the Olympic team events of Track & Field, both men and womens Sprint Relays failed miserably.

Steriod scandals have weakened its integrity, and more attention is given to "basketball" which was bascially a peripheral event in the Olympics, has brought down the integrity of the Olympics (IMO) with overpaid millionaire superstars.

I could go on, but Gimme Those Old Time Olympics too!