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Athletes Behaving Badly: What Happened to America’s Olympians?
Breakpoint with Charles Colson ^ | March 6, 2006 | Charles Colson

Posted on 03/07/2006 5:57:37 AM PST by Mr. Silverback

Every two years, America looks to its Olympic athletes for an unparalleled display of drive, sacrifice, team spirit, and patriotism. Unfortunately, this year, many of our country’s best athletes provided us with a very different kind of display.

Drive and sacrifice? Much-hyped skier Bode Miller barely managed to step out of the local bars long enough to participate in his events. Not surprising, then, that he didn’t win a single medal.

Team spirit? Speedskaters Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis provided a whole new twist on that concept, with their very public bickering.

Patriotism? How about figure skater Johnny Weir attending practices in a jacket with the old Soviet Union logo on it? Weir downplayed the outfit, explaining, “I just admire Russian culture.” Apparently, no one ever educated Weir on what the Soviet government did to Russian culture (and would have liked to have done to our own culture).

The list goes on: Aerialist Jaret Peterson was expelled from the Games for punching an acquaintance. Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis decided to show off on her way to the finish line, resulting in a fall that cost her the gold. Hockey player Mike Modano skipped his final team meeting after the U.S. team was eliminated, and then publicly blasted USA Hockey for forcing him to make his own travel arrangements.

It wasn’t just about winning or losing gold medals either. Figure skater Sasha Cohen and mogul skier Toby Dawson didn’t manage to win gold, but both were honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee for their fighting spirit and mature attitude. And there were plenty of other examples of inspiring behavior, like speedskater Joey Cheek’s donating his entire winnings to refugees from the Sudan. But it seemed as if, for every feel-good story to come out of the Olympics, there were at least four or five that made us cringe.

True, it’s not the first time an Olympic athlete has embarrassed himself and his country. But it’s difficult to remember a time when so many of them were doing it all at the same time. The American media and the public were understandably disgusted with the behavior of some of our best and our brightest. As the Washington Post reported, “As a whole, the U.S. Olympic Committee learned that its athletes need some lessons in comportment and team play. . . . So many American athletes seemed consumed with their own self-fulfillment.”

Self-fulfillment. That certainly rings a bell. Isn’t that the very same idea that so many American parents and teachers have been instilling in their kids from their earliest days? We have been telling them, in effect, that life is all about doing whatever will make them happy—go after their own desires, unmindful often of what happens to other people. This idea of exalting the self has so permeated our culture that now even some of our most disciplined and hardest-working citizens—our athletes—have fallen prey to it. The old Olympic ideals we once took for granted now seem like a foreign language to much of this generation.

America may have been left with a bad taste in its mouth as the Olympics ended. But maybe these athletes are just reflecting the values we have embraced. And if so, we have no one to blame for this sorry display but ourselves.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: breakpoint; kayak
There was more than enough good to balance out the bad. And for those who were paying attention, Davis was cheering Hedrick on during the 10,000 meters. Apollo Anton Ohno was aclass act, too.

Heck, Warren Sapp has packed more bad sportsmanship into an average NFL season than our whole team exhibited in these games.

There are links to further information at the source document.

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

1 posted on 03/07/2006 5:57:39 AM PST by Mr. Silverback
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To: 351 Cleveland; AFPhys; agenda_express; almcbean; ambrose; Amos the Prophet; AnalogReigns; ...

BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my Chuck Colson/BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

2 posted on 03/07/2006 5:59:31 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (GOP Blend Coffee--"Coffee for Conservative Taste!" Go to www.gopetc.com)
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To: Mr. Silverback

The Olympics: People I have never heard of doing things I don't care about.


3 posted on 03/07/2006 6:01:10 AM PST by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings............Modesty hides my thighs in her wings......)
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To: Mr. Silverback

The Sweden-Finland Gold Medal game was the best hockey game I've seen in years. They played like national teams. The American team looked like it was back in the old days where Bean Pot rivalries superceded the unity that Herb instilled in Mike Eruzione. Maybe Mike should be the coach next time.


4 posted on 03/07/2006 6:02:36 AM PST by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Mirroring the democratization of winter sports, formerly the preserve of the rich and the locals.


5 posted on 03/07/2006 6:03:40 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: Mr. Silverback
The American media ... were understandably disgusted

Well, no, the American media were not "disgusted," they fed the flames. The egregious NBC coverage of people like Bode Miller was positively fawning.

6 posted on 03/07/2006 6:05:39 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Mr. Silverback
Time to bring back only armatures to the games. The Pros have ruined it!
7 posted on 03/07/2006 6:05:51 AM PST by Bommer (Have you insulted a false prophet today? http://pages.sbcglobal.net/bommer/mofactor.html)
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To: Bommer

amatures


8 posted on 03/07/2006 6:06:16 AM PST by Bommer (Have you insulted a false prophet today? http://pages.sbcglobal.net/bommer/mofactor.html)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I think you must have spent too much time watching curling.


9 posted on 03/07/2006 6:06:55 AM PST by em2vn
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To: Bommer

Amateurs?


10 posted on 03/07/2006 6:09:43 AM PST by -YYZ-
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To: Mr. Silverback
>>>>we have no one to blame for this sorry display but ourselves.

Baloney!

1) Any American who screws up anywhere gets front page headlines immediately. That's how our media works. The picture the media painted of our Olympic Team was distorted.

2) The team finished 2nd in total medals and absolutely dominated at at least of the venues. It sort of reminded me of the coverage of the last Summer games. The US team won an absolute avalanche of medals only to be ignored because a bunch of stupid NBA thugs got schooled by Puerto Rico in the prelim rounds.
11 posted on 03/07/2006 6:10:21 AM PST by .cnI redruM (Spreading liberal beliefs is as wrong as spreading AIDS.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Heck, Warren Sapp has packed more bad sportsmanship into an average NFL season than our whole team exhibited in these games.

Ain't that the truth.

12 posted on 03/07/2006 6:10:53 AM PST by Obadiah
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To: Mr. Silverback

"The American media and the public were understandably disgusted with the behavior of some of our best and our brightest."

None of these people come close to being our "best and brightest". And BTW, can we please go back to banning pros from the Olympics? It was much better to watch our amateur players struggle against pro-equivalents from commie block nations, than to watch bored old pros who think they are the world's best, get beaten by a bunch of unknowns.


13 posted on 03/07/2006 6:12:00 AM PST by BadAndy (I miss the days when people didn't celebrate their perversions.)
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To: r9etb
The egregious NBC coverage of people like Bode Miller was positively fawning.

Roger that. The Tom Brokaw interview with Miller after he was out of competition...yeesh!

14 posted on 03/07/2006 6:13:07 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (GOP Blend Coffee--"Coffee for Conservative Taste!" Go to www.gopetc.com)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Side note, and clearly not the point of the article, but I like the irony that the CCCP jacket is like the coolest looking thing that Weir weenie wore during the Olympics.


15 posted on 03/07/2006 6:13:20 AM PST by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: em2vn

Nope, no curling. Most of what I watched was the prime time stuff.


16 posted on 03/07/2006 6:13:55 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (GOP Blend Coffee--"Coffee for Conservative Taste!" Go to www.gopetc.com)
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To: Mr. Silverback

"Heck, Warren Sapp has packed more bad sportsmanship into an average NFL season than our whole team exhibited in these games."

Sorry, don't mean to nit pick, but this is one of my pet peeves. Let's find something that's worse, and that justifies what's bad? No. There was much bad behavior. Let it stand on it's own. Then you can say it's ok, or it's not ok, but let's not look for equivalences.


17 posted on 03/07/2006 6:16:18 AM PST by brownsfan (It's not a war on terror... it's a war with islam.)
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To: Hegewisch Dupa

I would love to get that guy to read up on what they do to "princessy" (his words) men like himself in Communist countries, including the ol' CCCP. Yeesh.


18 posted on 03/07/2006 6:17:02 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (GOP Blend Coffee--"Coffee for Conservative Taste!" Go to www.gopetc.com)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Amen.


19 posted on 03/07/2006 6:21:13 AM PST by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: Mr. Silverback
".."princessy" (his words) men like himself.."

Are you refering to Johnny "Weird"?

He was wearing a warm-up jersey from Russia one day.

20 posted on 03/07/2006 6:24:35 AM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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To: r9etb
The egregious NBC coverage of people like Bode Miller was positively fawning.

This is what has ruined the Olympics for me. The events are replaced with a sickening schmaltzy stories that bring almost nothing to the table. Here's a hint NBC, Everytime you glorify Bode Miller, you are NOT showing me an Olympic event.

Plus NBC's stranglehold on the Plympics means if I am not landing on NBC, I don't even know the Olympics are even going on. And if you do land on NBC, you get to see one event every hour and I get so bored with the in-between stuff that I turn the channel and never come back.

21 posted on 03/07/2006 6:25:29 AM PST by SengirV
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To: Hegewisch Dupa
"..that Weir weenie.."

Oh, sorry, didn't see your post.

22 posted on 03/07/2006 6:26:00 AM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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To: SengirV

"And if you do land on NBC, you get to see one event every hour and I get so bored with the in-between stuff that I turn the channel and never come back."

Not to mention the commercials.


23 posted on 03/07/2006 6:30:48 AM PST by JZelle
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To: Mr. Silverback

"Just win, baby"


24 posted on 03/07/2006 6:31:18 AM PST by wreckedangle
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To: Mr. Silverback
Self-fulfillment. That certainly rings a bell. Isn’t that the very same idea that so many American parents and teachers have been instilling in their kids from their earliest days? We have been telling them, in effect, that life is all about doing whatever will make them happy—go after their own desires, unmindful often of what happens to other people. This idea of exalting the self has so permeated our culture that now even some of our most disciplined and hardest-working citizens—our athletes—have fallen prey to it. The old Olympic ideals we once took for granted now seem like a foreign language to much of this generation.

Lyrics (partial) from: 'What Have We Become?" by DC Talk

What have we become?
A self indulgent people
What have we become?
Tell me where are the righteous ones?
What have we become?
In a world degenerating
What have we become?

this chorus is wispered in the background - any guesses on the wisperer?

Speak your mind, look out for yourself
The answer to it all is a life of wealth
Grab all you can cause you live just once
You got the right to do whatever you want
Don’t worry about others or where you came from
It ain’t what you were, it’s what you have become

25 posted on 03/07/2006 6:38:33 AM PST by 70times7 (An open mind is a cesspool of thought)
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To: Mr. Silverback; OrthodoxPresbyterian; Dr. Eckleburg
Self-fulfillment. That certainly rings a bell. Isn’t that the very same idea that so many American parents and teachers have been instilling in their kids from their earliest days?

There is nothing wrong with competition or following your dream.

What's wrong is not recognizing one's abilities as a gift. One has, then, a responsibility to the Giver of the Gift.

26 posted on 03/07/2006 6:50:36 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It. Pray for Our Troops!)
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To: SengirV
This is what has ruined the Olympics for me. The events are replaced with a sickening schmaltzy stories that bring almost nothing to the table.

NBC is just following the lead of ABC Sports -- the network that created the template for Olympic coverage. You may not recall, but back during the Cold War Days the US didn't exactly light dominate Olympic competition. The sidebar stories were a way to distract from the fact that the Soviets, East Germans and (in boxing) the Cubans regularly kicked our butts. In the Winter games we might only net a half-dozen medals, total.

NBC did, however, show a lot of sports on their cable feeds. That coverage was pretty good. I generally avoided the prime time network coverage for the reasons you stated.

27 posted on 03/07/2006 7:00:31 AM PST by Tallguy (When it's a bet between reality and delusion, bet on reality -- Mark Steyn)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I agree that a lot of this was overblown, mainly because the U.S. athletes have received far more coverage here in the U.S. than their foreign counterparts.

This kind of nonsense isn't unique to U.S. athletes. In fact, the biggest "negative" story out of the recent Olympics should have been that bizarre case involving the disgraced coach of the Austrian ski team, who -- in a scene that sounds like something out of a Cold War spy thriller -- was chased out of the athletes' quarters during a pre-dawn raid, fled the city, and was later arrested while sleeping in his car on the side of the road in some mountain pass in the Alps just across the border in Switzerland or Austria.

28 posted on 03/07/2006 7:38:23 AM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: Mr. Silverback
Team spirit? Speedskaters Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis...their very public bickering.

I disagree that both of them were at fault.

Hedrick skated in a team event, Davis did not. Davis was not a team player.

I wrote a note to the U.S. Olympic Committee asking them to not invite Davis back.

29 posted on 03/07/2006 8:23:24 AM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Tell me where the prime stuff was.
I was spoiled by the 64 and 68 Olympics coverage of ABC and hosted by Jim McKay I believe. It seems that the coverage was live for about ten hours a day. Not much of the personality profiles. Those get bland very fast.


30 posted on 03/07/2006 8:24:56 AM PST by em2vn
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To: Bommer

I agree.


31 posted on 03/07/2006 8:26:14 AM PST by Dante3
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To: Mr. Silverback
There was more than enough good to balance out the bad.

Completely agree! Unfortunately, NBC's agenda was to highlight the bad.

Way too much coverage on "Bode" and the "fued" between Hedrick and Davis was overhyped. They had too many hours to fill for their compentence level, and it showed.

Lot's of really good stuff, much of it already mentioned - Joey Cheek, Apolo Ohno, Shawn the flying tomato, the men's curling team.

The men's hockey team has been unfairly criticized, as well. The games they lost, they could have won, and they were all against the top medal contenders. They weren't blown out or embarassed by anyone. For the most part, they played great defense (a few breakdowns as exceptions).

IMO, they played better than we had any right to expect. The best players were on other teams. Could we have done better? Absolutely. Should we have? I don't think so. Canada was the team that didn't live up to it's potential.

The best two teams played for the gold.

Enough about hockey, we had over 200 athletes who competed in these games, and unfortunately, a few bad apples has allowed the media to paint the whole team with a bad brush. Totally uncalled for. And, unfortunately, some of us here have bought into it.
32 posted on 03/07/2006 8:59:58 AM PST by Texas2step (<><)
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To: Mr. Silverback

A class act that hasn't been mentioned is Michelle Kwan. She was very gracious in her speech when she stepped down, and she made her decision soon enough that Emily Hughes was able to participate.


33 posted on 03/07/2006 4:03:20 PM PST by Rocky (Air America: Robbing the poor to feed the Left)
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To: Designer

Sorry, I disagree with you on this one -- Davis told his team captain all along, from way before the Olympics, that he did not want to compete in the new team event, just his individual event, and the team captain put his name down for the team anyway, depriving some other guy of a chance to go to the Olympics, hoping he could shame Davis into changing his mind.


34 posted on 03/07/2006 6:36:48 PM PST by VeritatisSplendor
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To: .cnI redruM
The team finished 2nd in total medals and absolutely dominated at at least of the venues. It sort of reminded me of the coverage of the last Summer games. The US team won an absolute avalanche of medals only to be ignored because a bunch of stupid NBA thugs got schooled by Puerto Rico in the prelim rounds.

We won a bunch of medals in stupid X-style "sports" that we invented. If it wasn't for those, we would have been buried by Latvia (or similar).

4 or 8 years from now, the countries that can afford to coddle its children to do crap-sport stuff will start edging us, just like we have lost the edge in Basketball.

35 posted on 03/07/2006 6:40:49 PM PST by freedumb2003 (American troops cannot be defeated. American Politicians can.)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I thought the Olympics were great.

As for folks complaining about 'pro' athletes competing, each and every athlete started out as an amatuer and worked their way up to the top. If they are the best at the sport then they deserve to be at the Olympics.

Also, I liked the fact that the gal snowboarder had the guts to try and give a little extra show for the crowd. The fact that she fell because of it just made the games more fun to watch - at least she tried to push the envelop (besides it was snowboarding -- )

36 posted on 03/07/2006 6:55:03 PM PST by 13foxtrot
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To: r9etb
I didn't watch any of the coverage this year. I did watch some of the coverage of the winter olympics 4 years ago. Back then I enjoyed some of the individual performances of athletes from different countries.

What's missing for me is the competition the American teams had years ago. While this may not make much sense, I used to love watching the winter olympics simply because the US had very little chance at winning. When the US did win, it made the win all the sweeter.

Back in the 'olden' days there would be news pieces about how the Germans or the Russians or whatever country had training facilities supported by the government of their respective country's. The American athletes were at a distinct disadvantage because they were very definitely amateurs and had to rely on using (as an example) the local skating rink or local coaches, etc. Even though you kind of knew the American's were going to lose it still was great fun to watch what we could do given what we had to work with as far as training went. On the rare occasion the US would win it would be a really big deal because we didn't have the fancy training facilities or the specialized coaches, etc.

Yeah, I know, I'm weird.
37 posted on 03/07/2006 7:05:06 PM PST by Sally'sConcerns (Native Texan now in SW Ok.)
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To: Mr. Silverback

All things considered, I thought the curlers were quite dignified.


38 posted on 03/07/2006 7:15:23 PM PST by Fintan (Did you really think I could post such insightful replies if I actually read the article???)
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To: brownsfan
Your point is valid, but I wasn't excusing bad behavior. The fact that there are so many thugs and idiots in the NFL and NBA does not in any way excuse any pathetic crap perpetrated by Olympians.

But what is truly indisputable is that Warren Sapp sucks. A lot.

39 posted on 03/07/2006 8:57:16 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (GOP Blend Coffee--"Coffee for Conservative Taste!" Go to www.gopetc.com)
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To: Designer
Are you refering to Johnny "Weird"?

Yep.

40 posted on 03/07/2006 9:04:38 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (GOP Blend Coffee--"Coffee for Conservative Taste!" Go to www.gopetc.com)
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To: Sally'sConcerns

Then I guess we're both weird.... I hate the "businessification" of the Olympics.


41 posted on 03/08/2006 6:45:34 AM PST by r9etb
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To: freedumb2003
"We won a bunch of medals in stupid X-style "sports" that we invented."

Does it seem to you as if those snowboard events are just a little bit too easy compared to the work, long hours, and years of dedication that other sports require?

Then there is the money thing. Compare the cost of fielding a bobsled team entry with that of a snowboarder.

I'm sure glad we invented it, though. Gets us medals with very little effort.

42 posted on 03/09/2006 1:44:27 PM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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