Guest Author: Sam Willcut
The Summer 2012 Olympics was the very last that I supported with my viewing. Make no mistake—my family and I tried to watch as much as we could, and we generally have supported the Olympics throughout the years with our viewership. I have even written bulletin articles addressing the positive qualities that we are able to take from such (need for preparation, playing within the rules, striving for a common goal and such like). Nevertheless, the more I learn about what truly takes place “behind the scenes,” the more I see as a viewer and the older (and I hope more mature) I get, the more disgusted I have become—so much so, that I no longer support them with my viewing. Please do not get me wrong or misunderstand the nature of this article—I simply want to share some things for you, the reader, to think and consider as I provide reasons why I, personally, have made this decision. Before I proceed, this is not a blanket condemnation of everyone who participates or enjoys such, as I realize that with most everything, there are always exceptions. Yet, from what I have gathered, I believe they are quite rare. I no longer support the Olympic Games because they are primarily about the following three things.
First, the Olympics are primarily about sports. If you are relatively young, you are probably thinking, “Duh!” but allow me to expand. The older I get, the more I see sports becoming a god to many people, especially right here in our own nation—the United States of America. We are proud when we are able to attain more gold medals (or more medals cumulatively) than any other nation, and as the end of the games draws near, we watch the medal count even closer. It ought to be no surprise that we are among the top countries every year, because the concept of sports plays quite a large role in the lives of Americans. From the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and even to the role that college sports plays across the fruited plains, for far too many Americans, sports has become their god. It is that for which they eat, drink and breathe. Moreover, reports often come from other countries (such as China) as to the emphasis they also give to sports. It gets to the point where we may easily talk to strangers about such sporting events, but we rarely ever talk to them about Jesus Christ. We do everything we can to teach our children how to throw a baseball, but we rarely ever teach them the word of God. We are sure to get them to practice on time, but struggle to encourage them to memorize Bible verses. Yes, I admit that I am a sports fan, but I do not want it to consume my life, and when we watch it every single evening for weeks, it is too much. God must be first in my life, and such types of games are constantly trying to push God out of the lives of more and more people every year. Make no mistake, the Greeks were among the first to elevate the athlete upon the golden pedestal of society, and we are following in their footsteps. Modern-day “coliseums” are becoming more popular than church buildings, which only shows the role that sports is playing as a modern false god in our world.
Second, the Olympics are primarily about money. Being a part of the sports world (as I discussed previously), it is all about the financial gain. Olympics are televised in such a way that viewers will watch the commercials and support the respective network broadcasting them. Olympic athletes (as well as others) will make more money from endorsements than they will the games themselves. When it comes to sports, money rules; I believe I read in some good book that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). The American athlete may not earn very much for their medal placements, but again, when coupled with the exposure that media provides, it often leads to a lifestyle of debauchery funded by millions of dollars of revenue gained. From the earliest of Olympics, the winners would obtain a lifetime of financial ease, but with such also came bribery and cheating—we see such attempts even today among the modern athlete. Why? It is because of an unhealthy thirst for money, along with the power and prestige that it provides.
Third, the Olympics are primarily about sex. Not only is it difficult for the Christian viewer to watch ANY sport without seeing over-exposed, athletic bodies, but to read what actually takes place within the secluded Olympic Village (temporary home for the athletes competing in the games) is nauseating. One ESPN writer wrote an article entitled, “Will You Still Medal in the Morning?” (if you can stomach it, look it up online). In this expose, he described in great detail the hedonistic atmosphere that reigns during this time among the athletes. Couple this with the number of condoms that the Olympic Federation makes available (this year, 450,000 condoms, or as one author online put it, “Welcome to the most promiscuous Olympics in history,” and which prompted tabloids to dub it “the raunchiest games ever”), and it ought to make all parents seriously reconsider whether or not they want their child to strive for such mastery.
Therefore, because it sadly seems, in my humble opinion, that the Olympics have become less about friendly athletic competition between countries and general good-will between nations and more about the god of sports, the love of money and the lifestyle of hedonism that I have personally put my foot down and no longer support the Olympic Games; all I ask from you is to consider carefully such things in view of your spiritual growth.