Why I Won’t Be Watching the Olympics

“Olympics Offer Flatt, Abbott Chance for Marketing Mettle.”  So read the headlines after Rachael Flatt and Jeremy Abbott won national skating titles.  Not to take anything from these athletes.  They both sound like wonderful people.  And it’s not a lack of interested in figure skating.  I used to love watching it.

But now, it’s the Olympic marketing machine I’ll be boycotting, the one that’s ensnared the Olympics and morphed it into a big money game.  Witness the talk of the advertising world:  “I would not be surprised if you’re looking at a million-plus dollars,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, Inc., a New York-based brand-and-consumer loyalty research consultant firm. When did the buzz about marketing potential come to outweigh athletic talent as the main topic of Olympic news?

And for the record, it’s not just the money, but the crazy things that money makes young athletes do.  At least there’s been a little press about the ridiculous heights being scaled by, e.g., snowboarders.  I feel it’s time to vote with my viewership dollars and tell the Olympic carpetbaggers that no, I won’t pander to interests that encourage athletes to sacrifice the best interests of their bodies and lives.

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