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08 November 2009

So, please, don't mention the Nazis. "Through the hand-to-hand transmission of the eternal flame between both ordinary and extraordinary people, Games organizers ask us to see peace and friendship, hope and understanding, personal contact..."
Interesting. I really had no idea about that.

Their route looks suspiciously like a plan for later Nazi domination, as it wound its way through Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia and finally into Germany over a mere 11 days.

"They were rehearsing the nazification of Europe and ceremonially visualizing what a new Europe might look like," says John Hoberman, a professor of Germanic studies at the University of Texas and author of The Olympic Crisis: Sport, Politics and the Moral Order. "Their goal was to leave behind a certain inspired fraction of the population who would act out a form of submission to Nazi rule."

posted by taz 08 November | 02:41
when it came to fire and flame, the most significant event at Olympia was not a torch race but the sacrificial slaughter of 100 oxen on the altar of Zeus, a practice that has so far failed to catch on among modern re-creationists.

I would love to see them do this at the next Olympics.
posted by Daniel Charms 08 November | 03:49
The torch relay is a total fabrication.... There was nothing like it in the ancient Olympics

Well, there wasn't anything like figure skating either, so that's weak sauce.

Giving everybody a chance to participate and a piece of the glory just wasn't the Greek way of doing things.... The lens through which the 19th-century creators of the modern Games viewed the ancient world was highly distorting - the ancient ideals of peace and brotherhood and idealistic amateurism were just the figments of their dreamy imaginations.

Well, each generation reinvents history for its own purposes. I don't think that de Coubertin misunderstood Greek history. He had other very modern purposes in mind.

Even the celebration of amateurism that became such a stumbling block as professional athletes were excluded was itself an invention.

Anyway, I think this idea that the modern Olympics are supposed to be some sort of historical re-creation of the ancient ones is bunk. From the beginning it was adapted to the times.

Also, as much as I support a free Tibet, it's silly to expect the Chinese to not run the torch through territory that they control with international recognition. The objection should be giving the Olympics to them in the first place. And what nation with the world's highest mountain in it would pass up the chance to send the torch up it. I'm not sure what that has to do with autocracy.

So, this story is reaching.
posted by dhartung 08 November | 12:58
Istanbul oR Constantinople? || The Flu Dance.