Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Olympic Torch


I could hardly believe what I was seeing on TV today as the Olympic Torch made its way through the streets of San Francisco. Mobs of protestors trying to put out the flame while the runners were protected by a literal army of riot ready police. I'm really torn about this. I think giving the 2008 Games to China was the worst idea in the history of bad ideas. I'm glad people are calling attention to their brutality and at the same time calling attention to our hypocritical foreign policy. But, I also know what it's like to be a young athlete poised for that level of world class competition, and have the experience ruined by politics. Today's events brought back a lot of memories for me - especially memories of when I carried the Olympic Torch through the streets of Austin (see the picture) as it made its way to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. What an experience!

5 comments:

zanned said...

I've thought of you everytime I've seen something on the news about the Olympic torch relay, Charles, and wondered what was going through your mind. It saddens me that the Olympics have become so political which is so counter-intuitive to the goals and purposes of the Games. I'm glad you had the positive experience you had. By the way, give Holly & William my love. I'm in North Carolina today and will welcome Robert home tonight!!!
Suzanne

Charles North said...

Thanks Suzzie D. I'm glad Robert is home safe. That's wonderful!

Ryan said...

With all due respect the Olympics have been about politics for a long time. Consider the USA boycotting the games in Moscow in 1980 or the Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972 or South Africa being barred from competition for a long time. I know someone who was on the 1980 US swimming team and did not get to participate. As a result she has not voted in a presidential election since. She said that she was no longer interested in participating in giving one man that much power over others.

But that's another issue for another day.

J.R. said...

The protesters are just plain DUMB! If they wanted to protest this, they should have done it back when the announcement was made, not when the torch is making it's rounds. Complete idiots and misplaced allegiance.

On another note, what about freeing the Iraqis and the Afghans? No protests there.

(Suzanne, tell Robert I said hey and welcome back!)

Charles North said...

Someone pointed out to me that I'm not actually carrying the torch in the picture. Okay, technically that's true. A few seconds after this shot was taken the other guy handed me the torch, but I don't have a good picture.