Games Not Worthy
By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – If, and this is a big if, the International Children’s Games is such a big event why does the City of Windsor have to embellish the whole thing. On May 24, 2012, the Windsor Star claimed that the game are “under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee.” The assumption is that the whole Olympic organization is behind this effort.
It appears that this is not factual. The only support that can be found, and it is weak at best, is a greeting that the IOC Present sent to the games.
What follows in the translation of the letter, which is posted on the kid’s games website. Is it a letter of encouragement or an offer of support? You be the judge.
Message of greeting from the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr Jacques Rogge
Dear Friends, The work of the Committee of the International Children’s Games is essential for the promotion of sport and the endorsement of Olympic values. Young people are our future, and each year you offer thousands of young people the possibility to practise sport in the true Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
The very encouraging development of your Games and the growing participation from cities and countries worldwide illustrate the universality of the sports movement and the important contribution it can make to a more peaceful society.
On behalf of the Olympic Movement, I should like to congratulate you on all the achievements of the past and wish you all the best for future Games. Signed Dr Jacques Rogge, IOC President. (No date is given for the letter.)
This is not to say that the Games are not worthy but there are too many questions that suggest they might not be worthy of the significant investment of the Rose City to a set of events that are largely mediocre and that restricts those who can participate.
To say the games are under the auspices of the Olympics is a sham given the Olympics are world class and are open to all athletes in the world. The kid’s games are only open to a select group of invitees and this is probably the greatest failure of the games.
The invited cities can participate or pass. Once invited, each city must send a contingent of so-called athletes and each athlete must participate in three events whether they are qualified or not. In fact, there are no qualifying rounds at all so the athletes are not participating because they are good but because they showed up.
This is problematic on a number of fronts but the most critical one is that if a potential Olympian arrives that potential athlete faces limited if any competition. This is one of the reasons the media stay away in droves and thus there is no media coverage as illustrated by what happened in Scotland at the games last year. This makes sense. What editor would invest in assigning costly reporters to cover a non-event.
There is also another factor being how Windsor “won” the honour to host the games. There is no record that it competed with other communities. It simply showed up.
Given we are now in the 21st Century, the organizers of the kid’s games may want to consider revamping their whole approach in bringing their event into the new Century. For one thing, athletes at the Olympics are getting younger. On June 14, 2012, the Iowan reported that “the average age of the U.S. Olympic athletes in the 2008 Beijing Games was 26.8.”
It added that “it’s clear that the age of the Olympic teams is slowly decreasing — the 2004 Athens team’s average age was 30.71. This year, the odds are greater than ever the Olympic team could be younger. Much younger.”
This suggests that there is a role an organization such as the kid’s games could play in creating a competitive environment for pre-Olympians by creating a sporting event that is not a pedagogical event, as the games now are, but one that really is of Olympic standards, that could play a role in really developing competitive sport across the world and that could be conducted under the auspices of the IOC.
The kid’s games should work on making its event truly world class with every country in the world allowed to enter, no exceptions, not just those invited. And let all countries participate no matter how many athletes they send as long as those they send are qualified to compete.
If this were done the world would then have its eyes on the games, and Windsor, if only to see up-and-coming world class athletes and not kids playing for a few days in an $80 million swimming canal at considerable expense to the city.
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