Past Sports from the past week.
Past sports article for the week of 7/7/08
More Than Just A Set Of Bleachers
By Grey Sports
Advertising is a sad fact of modern sporting events. From seating used as billboards, uniforms plastered in so many slogans you can’t recognise the team colours anymore to, fields so cleverly covered with brand names that from the standard camera angle they appear perfect.
One would think that the Olympic Games, symbolic of human athletic achievement, would manage to rise above it all.
Money makes things happen and the Olympic Games are no exceptions. Charges of bribery, attempts at cheating, using gold foil chocolate medals rather than real gold awards, cost cutting and moneymaking, have long plagued the Games, ever since Hitler tried to buy a place for his German Sheppard, Goldie, in the decathlon.
Even Goldie was shamed by this, and Goldie was a murdering dictator’s dog.
Things are being made worse by having China as the host nation for the Olympics. Well known as the home of cheap knock offs as well as the mass production sweatshops of actual name brand products some thought it merely inevitable that certain logos would find their way into events.
Circumstances have proven it be a virtually essential element of the 2008 Olympic Games.
Every stand is plastered with advertising, front and back so no matter where the spectators look they are being encouraged to eat burgers and drink poorly made overpriced coffee.
And that’s if they’re lucky. If they’re unlucky they are sitting behind an interactive seat advertising the latest Val Kilmer movie.
Even the events are being hijacked by mass marketing.
Several equestrian events now require jockeys to wear Nike footwear. Hardly surprising given the nation, though the requirement that all relays involve authentic Prada handbags is a bit out of left field.
Chinese officials have been quick to claim no part in this, stating that they are unwilling to do anything to interfere with the smooth running of the games, while critics mutter about how they do little about international freedoms while suppressing their own citizens.
It is suspicious that certain changes that can only be made by the host nation “in the interest of fostering greater cultural expansion” have resulted in table tennis players (treated as near gods in most Asian nations) have to skull a Pepsi between points, weightlifters are allowed nothing less than quarter pounder cheeseburgers (theoretically to bulk up) and anyone involved in a running distances greater than 200 meters must wear perfume supplied by specific sponsors.
It should be noted that the last time the “cultural expansion” rule was applied it was in the Barcelona Olympics where Spanish officials declared it perfectly fitting and legal to run bulls through any event their athletes were expected to do poorly in. Which made diving really interesting to watch.
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