Professional tennis joined the fray shortly after and now Major League Baseball is considering attending the games. The Olympics are now a professional athlete's bonanza.
While one can argue that it's exciting and entertaining for the world's best athletes to participate in the games, allowing professional athletes to participate seems to be going against what the Olympics have always stood for.
There was a time when the world's best amateur athletes (non-paid athletes) competed at the Olympics. It was exciting for fans and the games were kept somewhat innocent. Athletes participated in their sports for the love of the game and not for monetary gain.
Winning a gold, silver or bronze might have lead an athlete to riches but while they participated in international sports, there were strict rules about receiving compensation to compete in sports.
Now the amateur athlete is almost a thing of the past. Sure there amateur athletes at the Olympics but the major professional sports leagues are becoming more and more dominant.
Now the IOC is considering compensating professional sports leagues to attend the Olympic Games. I think this is going way too far. At some point the IOC needs to draw a line in the sand and stand by some principles.
That seems to becoming less and less likely. There have been accusations that IOC members take bribes and are compensated for awarding the games to a particular country. That would make sense in the case of Sochi. The IOC seems to turn a blind eye to dictators and countries where human rights abuses are rampant.
Paying professional sports leagues will open the IOC to more scandals and money will rule their every decision. Sometimes ethical behavior should govern over greed and the desire for more and more money. When is it enough?
In the IOC's case, the fact that they are even considering paying professional sports to attend the games shows me that it's an oxymoron to mention the IOC and moral behavior in the same sentence. I believe that it's becoming clear as time goes by that the IOC has very few standards of conduct or a code of how to govern.
If they do, they seem to be disregarding and circumventing those codes and standards. I think it's time for member countries, athletes and fans to say no, no and no to the IOC in regards to paying professional sports.
Does anyone remember the greatest upset in professional sports? Does anyone remember one of the greatest hockey games ever? Does anyone remember one if the greatest sports contests ever? Yes, I'm talking about the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey team that was made up of a bunch of college hockey players who defeated the mighty (and for all practical purposes professional) Red army Soviet Team.
We might never witness such a great moment in Olympic sports again. We might never see a collection of amateur athletes in a team sports again. If the IOC had their way they would pay a ransom to have professional sports attend the games.
Gone are the days of great amateur competition. In its place we have money dominated and corrupt sports. I don't know about you but I miss watching the amateur athletes.
I think I will go and watch Miracle. That's about the only amateur Olympic hockey that I will see in a long time or ever again.
Article source: ESPN.com.