What’s A Gold Medal Worth?

Great commentary today from NYT sports-writer George Vecsey: Athletes Who Use Drugs Are Cheating the Fans. Go ahead, check it out and read about one Johann Muehlegg, who had all three cross-country skiing gold medals he won at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games taken away from him for “use of a banned substance.” German name, huh? (actually, more Austrian) – except that he was competing at Salt Lake City for Spain, a country he found it more convenient to pledge his allegiance to – for whatever reason: tax? – notwithstanding that he couldn’t speak a word of Spanish and probably wouldn’t know a tapa from a tortilla. (Of course not! The latter is Mexican, anyway.)

What if I submit the assertion that this Johann Muehlegg in Utah in February, 2002 (and whenever else) prostituted his body – not to mention his nationality – far more seriously and disgracefully than, say, any of the women sitting behind the rose-colored windows around three kilometers or so away from where I now sit in Amsterdam? At least he looks (properly) like a fully-credentialed idiot, holding up two of his bogus gold medals in the Associated Press photograph that heads Vecsey’s commentary. Check it out. And then stop wondering why many people, myself included, have stopped being willing to take the Olympic Games seriously.

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