Saturday, August 2, 2008

On The Tunney Side of the Street #184 - July 7, 2008

On the Tunney Side of the Street #184 - July 7, 2008

After Further Review .... The 2008 Olympic Games open one month from tomorrow, 08-08-08 in Beijing, China, with a lot of excitement and anticipation that the USA will be triumphant over our competitive countries. While I fully support our athletes and want them to do well, it appears to me – it has for many Olympic Games now – that we have let the “Spirit” of the Olympics get away from us.

“Citius, Altius, Fortius” -- interpreted to mean swifter, higher, stronger -- has always been the Olympic motto. The games were designed to compare INDIVIDUAL ATHLETICISM – not country competition. Most countries (not just the USA) want to “stack up” their country’s scores against other countries (i.e. country vs. country, not athlete vs. athlete). The Olympic Creed of “The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well” has been lost.

Enter the US Olympic Mens Basketball T.E.A.M. Being a team sport in itself takes away from the individual competition. Now, don’t get ahead of me here – I like the T.E.A.M. concept and countries should put their best team forward. But the US Olympic Mens Basketball T.E.A.M. is made up of NBA players – professionals!

You may recall that the great athlete Jim Thorpe had his Olympic Gold medals in the Decathlon and Pentathlon 1912 Olympics taken away because it was later discovered that Thorpe had played on, and received money from, a professional baseball team. In today’s Olympic competition, most of the players from every country are paid. USA began playing professionals in the Olympics when it was discovered we were sending our best amateur players, but facing professionals from other countries.

We should send our best athletes, but why not our best amateurs to maintain the “Spirit” of the games. Sixteen years ago, the first “DREAM TEAM” comprised of NBA players wanted 5-star treatment by living in luxurious hotels and not in the Olympic Village. Granted the Olympic Village was “spartan” compared to what these professional athletes were used to, but the value of being together in an Olympic environment was lost – and so did the Dream Team.

Further, the selection of Denver Nugget’s star Carmelo Anthony to the Olympic basketball team is suspect. Anthony certainly is one of the more talented players. However, the Nugget’s suspended “Melo” for 2 games, starting the 2008-2009 NBA season, when he was recently arrested after “pleading guilty to driving while impaired” (DUI). If the Nugget’s felt it necessary to take this aggressive action, why didn’t the Olympic Team do likewise? In sending our “Best Athletes,” it is important to incorporate character along with athleticism.

Will you support the Olympic Games that comprise the best amateurs strong in character as well as athleticism?

For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website:, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to

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