We don’t need the Olympics! I’m talking the collective we as a culture, the one that has let the riders drive the companies, trends, and progression. We were the ones that hiked up golf courses before ski resorts let us, we were the ones that tinkered in our garages, we were the ones that were too busy having fun instead of being judged by an international committee.
No doubt if you’re in the know you sat down and watched the spectacle of Olympic Halfpipe that has become snowboarding. Chances are you even rooted for your favorite riders whether it was Markus Malin or Shaun White. Whether you’re from Finland or the United States that sense of national pride swept over you and of course you felt the urge to fist pump and scream at your television set or computer.
But ask yourself what have they done for us? Seriously what have they done for snowboarding at all. At first they didn’t want to let us play their games, then they decided we had to be regulated and controlled, now they’re reaching out past the riders themselves to their sponsors. Wasn’t the Olympics supposed to be about bringing the best amateur athletes in the world together to compete?
The bullshit that I see is that it costs money to train to get to the Olympics, it costs money to travel to them, hell it costs money just to snowboard in general. So of course a good rider is going to get sponsors so they can further their love and passion of sliding on snow. Now the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has extended their reach to the companies.
What does this mean? Well here take a look at this photo from the Omatic team page.
Notice anything missing? Oh but wait Omatic isn’t the only one. Check out this from the Burton team page.
Yep that’s right Kevin is there, Danny is there, but where oh where could Shaun be? You see the IOC laid down the law that if the riders names weren’t removed from the companies sites they wouldn’t be allowed to ride. Now frankly this goes beyond the bull shit of competing that was witnessed at the Olympics but crosses over into trying to control something that shouldn’t be controlled.
Here you have companies that promote a rider, pay a rider, and help get them to the Olympics. Only to be told, “Hey awesome you’re here you can’t promote the companies that have promoted you and helped you get here.” Then they go even further to tell the companies, “sorry but if you don’t remove your athlete from your page there will be hell to pay”. Now does that honestly seem fair to these companies? Should they have to go back a full year and remove content or censor it so it doesn’t mention the riders name? Can’t have an Olympic Athletes name associated with a company otherwise the Olympics might not be able to make some money off using their rights and likeness.
This borders right on the issue of Christine Brennan feeling they need to put a cap on progression in the Olympics. Which right there forms stagnation. Stagnation is what kills any great thing, if you can’t progress it then it dies. Who wants to see people doing the exact same pipe run and then being scored?
Micah Abrams over on ESPN has a great piece on the cross over of Action Sports and the Olympics. He pretty much sums up the truth that they need us more than we need them. So I leave you with this, what have they done for us?