OLYMPIC CLOTHING VS OLYMPIC FUNDING
I’ve been neglectful of writing on the blog for the last year. Too busy trying to get my own house in order, and as Lori at Boots and Blades (see link to the right) does an excellent job of keeping up with all the short track news there, the blog was often redundant anyway.
And then there are times like these. Sometimes the planets align and events transpire that get the wheels of contemplation going, and I find I really have a lot to say…even if it does more often than not just fly off into the ether. Blogs are the perfect medium for such mental gymnastics, where there is more space to spill out what’s on ones mind than in a ‘tweet’.
So be prepared, this post may get a bit long winded…with a couple more undoubtedly equally long winded posts to follow soon thereafter. I’ve got some ground to cover and a few bones to pick. Starting with:
U. S. Olympic uniforms made in China has Congress steamed
This product image released by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic athletes (from left) swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone and soccer player Heather Mitts modeling the the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade Uniform. Republicans and Democrats railed Thursday about the U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to dress the U.S. team in Chinese manufactured berets, blazers and pants while the American textile industry struggles economically with many U.S. workers desperate for jobs. / Associated Press photo/Ralph Lauren/file
This week, our members of Congress are all up in arms and aghast over the realization that our Olympic Athletes will be trotting around London in uniforms manufactured not in the good Ol’ U.S. of A, but in our own personal little sweat shop known as the People’s Republic of China.
Now is this really new information that hasn’t been completely obvious to anyone over the age of three for a few decades now? Seriously???
Oh, wait. We’re talking about our government here. You know, those guys (and gals) so sequestered in their own little world of super PACs, insider trading and payoffs, that apparently what is going on in this country to 99% of their constituents comes as a complete and utter shock.
Excuse me while I quote your average teenager when I say: “Well, Duh.”
Where the hell have they been for the last few decades? Almost all of our manufacturing is overseas. Has been for awhile now. Our corporations sent them there. Our government paved the way for them to do it. And they say now that they didn’t know??? With our economy in the toilet and double digit unemployment for a good portion of the new millennium, now they’re surprised? Meh.
Not surprisingly, the general public has been equally outraged about the uniform flap, although I will say they have all missed the point- and the bigger issue entirely.
From the posts I’ve been reading on Facebook and the Boots & Blades Forum, this story has really hit a nerve with the Olympic sport of Short Track Speed Skating community and fans, with ensuing outrage of a totally different order. All of the posts have echoed my own sentiments, which evened out to:
THE TOP TEN REASONS OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE CLUELESS…
1) Congress- Our gov’t/congress/taxes don’t support this country’s Olympic athletes financially (for the Olympic Games or their years of training to get there) so you abdicate all rights to snivel about their uniforms, foreign made or otherwise…
Cough up some coin to support them and then we’ll talk.
2) Congress! – You’re the ones who not only gave their blessing, but in many instances orchestrated all those ‘Made in the USA’ clothing labels AND jobs going overseas.
3) Congress!!! – It’s called ‘Capitalism’! But now that it’s our athletes clothed in its results at the Olympic Games, you cry foul on poor Ralph? (Berets Ralph? Really??? The clothes are still butt ass ugly, but that’s a separate issue…) Hey, it’s a business. Ralph does it for PROFIT. You know, that stuff you elected officials feel is the end all, be all…
4) At least Ol’ Ralphy bothered to support our Olympic Team, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of American Companies. Congress complains about Ralph Lauren for doing what EVERY OTHER CLOTHING MANUFACTURER in the U.S. has been doing for decades. Get over it…or change it.
5) Congress equally balks at the USOC for wooing sponsorships from companies outside of the U.S.
Well, if American companies stepped up and opened their fat wallets after making all those profits from some overseas 5 year old working for a buck fifty a day, the USOC wouldn’t need to look outside of the States for sponsorship. The moola has got to come from somewhere and we can obviously rule out our government, American companies, members of Congress or CEO’s donating a portion of their mega million dollar bonus to the athletes cause.
In fact, when our government does get involved, athletes end up being little more than political pawns to make a completely gutless political statement. (Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Jimmy Carter…and No, I’ve never forgiven you for it. Nor do I feel you had the right to do it in the first place.)
6) Congress! – Before you do any more whining about the Olympic uniforms, I’ve got two words for you. Stupak Scholarship.
Yeah, that’s the one tiny little thing this country was willing to do for its Olympic athletes and future Olympians and hopefuls. A measly little million dollar scholarship program so they could get an education while competing and representing our country against athletes from other countries that had the full support and backing from their homeland.
Obama killed it. To be fair, Bush had tried to croak the program every year he was in office, Obama is just the one who succeeded. I didn’t hear Congress putting up too much of a fight over its demise. I guess it was much more important to cut that little million dollar program so there would be more towards the billions to bail out the rich banksters. I’ve met both Olympic hopefuls and Bankers. The former are much more honest and deserving.
7) Which leads me to ask this question. Who is the completely clueless government wonk who said this?:
“Olympic athletes [and hopefuls] receive generous support from a variety of sources.”
Congress – Are you high? Most elite athletes, especially in the less mainstream sports are living below the poverty line, many on food stamps. And how would you know anyway? OUR GOVERNMENT DOESN’T FUND THEM! This completely out of touch with reality mentality by both our elected officials AND the general public not only leads to a lot of financial hardship but also the oft heard phrase proffered to elite level athletes when they’re seeking desperately needed sponsorship- “So, you’re all set, then?” (See link below on this subject)
No, they’re not. Not by a long shot.
8) Congress!!!!! Why is it a person or company that busts its behind is deserving of the fruits of their labors- touted as ‘the American Way’, but when it comes to the athletes themselves, the fruits of their labors are entitled to everyone else BUT them? As one athlete put it:
“The ‘Olympic Dream’ frankly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You aren’t an individual, you are a “medal color” and the money people can make from that. It’s really sad to come to that realization.”
There are a LOT of people making money off the Olympics – or more accurately, the athletes. Sadly, for the most part, the athletes themselves aren’t one of them.
9) I have to thank Lori at Boots and Blades for this little gem she posted today.
30 Stupid Things The Government Is Spending Money On
I’m dumbfounded over this one. Truly. Our lawmakers are willing to pay for foreigners outside our country to get masters degrees? But they cut scholarship funding to our own Olympic Athletes???
Are they freaking kidding me???
10) Congress! -Gee, Hypocrisy much? Me thinks thou dost protest too much…
Which leads me right back to:
…”So, You’re All Set, Right?”…
What transpired last week was completely in sync with some points I wanted to comment on after reading Eva Rodansky’s book, ‘Winter of Discontent – An athlete’s experience of speed skating in America’.
This is EXACTLY the sort of thing she’s talking about. The difficulty of trying to train as an elite athlete while representing a country that does little to support its own Olympic athletes and hopefuls, and then adding insult to injury, works diligently to promote the general impression that if you ARE an elite athlete, then financially “So, You’re all set, right?”…
From what I’ve seen as a mere fan, nothing could be further from the truth.
Now, mention this book, and the room becomes suddenly hushed, and all concerned immediately exhibit the sort of extreme angst, silence, nervousness and discomfort one would normally expect from a drug runner being patted down by a DEA agent that is a mere inches away from discovering the illegal stash in their underwear. Apparently many would just like to make the book ‘go away’ and pretend it doesn’t exit.
A) This is America, not 1960’s Russia. So I can read – and talk about – what I like Comrade, thank you very much. And:
B) It’s my blog, so my rules. If it makes any fan or the general public of speedskating or the Olympics stop and think even half as much as it did for me, then it’s a book well worth reading. I’ll quote my own saying. “I have no patience with ignorance, it’s a 100% curable disease.”
Eva’s anger is palpable, and she certainly pulls no punches – on anyone. I personally like that in a person. Give it to me straight up, no chaser.
Her take on the general public’s (and obviously here, congress persons) perceptions on how our Olympic athletes are funded- or complete lack thereof – is spot on in my opinion.
You can download an e-version at either of these sites. (approx. $5)
Barnes and Noble:
I invite not only fans, but our elected officials to read up on this important subject. I encourage those who care about the Olympics in general, and short track speed skaters specifically to leave their own thoughts either here, on the Boots and Blades Forum and with your elected officials.
I fully intend to send the law makers in the links below this blog post…and any comments it generates.
So, are we all ready to rumble?
To contact the specific outraged lawmakers in the article:
Senator Harry Reid:
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House, John Boehner
Congressmen Steve Israel
Sen. Sherrod Brown
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand,
Sen. Bernie Sanders