There are many problems with the Olympics which will be detailed over the following days. First of all, it is not about the people at all, but a three week fling for the world's influential and wealthy at great cost to the people. Round after round of Olympics has seen the ugly head of racism raise its head targeting the athletes who do not fit the desired profile as winners. Second, the "problem" of intersex blurs the picture of who is male, who's female and what of those who don't fit in either "family values" slot. The Olympics raises the ugly head of police and state brutality and sometimes triggers terrorist attacks as a result of national deputes that can be in turn be triggered by the other conditions; i.e., the disparity between rich and poor and the meddling in the lives of the competitors and athletes. For an event that is supposed to be a joyous celebration of the athletic and skills prowess of the amateur competitors, it is anything but that.
The intersex problem is described clearly in an aritcle written for the Workers' Vanguard newspaper and part of it is quoted below covering the latest scandal to erup in the Olympic venue.
"Caster Semenya—Leave Her Alone!
Racist, Sexist Furor Over South African Runner
JOHANNESBURG, September 7—At last month’s world athletics (track and field) championships in Berlin 18-year-old Mokgadi Caster Semenya, a black woman from an impoverished village in rural South Africa, achieved a stunning victory in the women’s 800-metre race, running the fastest time this year with a huge lead over her competitors. Her accomplishment was all the more impressive given what transpired just before she ran the final: the world media was informed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that Semenya was being subjected to “gender verification” testing. After Semenya won the gold medal, an IAAF spokesman announced that she would be stripped of the medal if tests showed that she was not a woman.
Caster Semenya was able to become a world champion athlete despite growing up in a country where the degraded status of women is reflected in traditional practices such as lobola (bride price) and polygamy, which reduce women to property to be bought and sold into marriage. Yet it was in Berlin that she faced the ultimate humiliation at the hands of athletics officials and doctors who wanted to prod and poke her young body to determine whether she had an “unfair advantage” over her competitors because she is not female enough. The treatment of this athlete, who has struggled to overcome the barriers of race, sex and class in neo-apartheid South Africa, has ignited a firestorm of indignation and protest from all quarters in this country, and beyond. It has been aptly described as a modern-day version of the abuse of Sarah Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman who was taken to Europe in 1810 to be studied and exhibited as an anthropological and sexual curiosity (“the Hottentot Venus”) and whose brain and genitals remained on display in the Paris Musée de l’Homme until at least 1974.
The IAAF is well aware that there was nothing questionable about Semenya’s performance, which was slower than that of the woman gold medalist in last year’s Olympics. The vilification of Semenya, in which the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport had a hand, has everything to do with race and sex. As Semenya’s mother bluntly stated, “They’re just jealous because they don’t want black people improving their status” ([London] Guardian, 23 August).
Black South African athletes suffered “double apartheid” for many years. Under the system of apartheid segregation, the country’s white capitalist rulers denied most black athletes the material and legal means to participate in organised sport at the national and international level. This isolation was exacerbated by the international boycott of everything South African promoted by anti-apartheid liberals throughout the 1960s to ’80s. While apartheid formally ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president, sport, like other aspects of life, still reflects the poverty and deprivation of the oppressed non-white masses."
The cost and inconvenience of hosting the games, is staggering. In Vancouver, the preparations have out hundreds of people out of business due to all the massive detours and construction. A class action lawsuit arose out of this and one business person won, but this is now under appeal. Commuting in Vancouver is still a nightmare as sometimes even the detours have detours and these are sometimes blocked too. Four lanes of two way traffic are reduced to one lane both ways with road rage as the consequence. Then there are the continual cost over-runs of the Olympic venues. In the days of Ancient Greece, this was not the problem. The events were celebrated once every four years and little in special preparation was made. Use of existing venues was made. The athletes competed in the nude. None of this exists now as it is hyped up to astronomical levels of cost; even in a bankrupt world economy. On a positive note, Vancouver has been spared the worst of the current landslide into unemployment oblivion, but once the games are over, there will be some serious catching up. Major contractors are already complaining that new building projects have either stopped put on hold or that business is slowing down.
Racism has always been a way to control people under class division and the bourgeois capitalist state. Racism continues to plague the Olympics. Today, we are no better than Hitler who bemoaned the fact that a black American won the 100 meter dash. When other coloreds won, Hitler withdrew his presence when the Aryan myth of the superman was dashed over and over. Are we any different when we hound people over questions of their sex and expose everything to the paparazzi for public view? As for family values, this is just a way to restrain everyone form their own natural and true expression. Family values are really all about producing the next generation of laborers and consumers for profit. Family values means that the healthiest are culled out for slaughter and maiming in highly profitable wars that destroy other families as well. The Olympics and sports in general are a mock war that serves to build up team spirit for the times of real war. The Olympics have become an ugly distortion of what they were originally.