Once upon a time the thought of our professional athletes competing in the amateur Olympics didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Yeah, I know it was done so our teams would stand a chance against the old Soviet block countries, who’s athletes we 100% state sponsored. For all practical purposes the rest of the world was competing against professional Soviet block athletes.
Then, the other day when Serena Williams was playing for the gold, my first thought was no true amateur would stand a chance against her. Suddenly (maybe late to the game) it came to me…at Olympic level every athlete, from every country is a professional athlete. The only reason we don’t think of gymnasts, swimmers, or a variety of others as pros, is because they don’t earn a living off their sport. Now, if there was a swimming, biking, or a gymnast season, where teams played other cities or states competitively, and we all sat in front of the TV having a beer and cheering on on, and they earned millions, we would think of them as pros. Bottom line, most people only care about most of the Olympic sports once every four years (separating summer and winter). We won’t pack a stadium or an arena to watch water polo, or curling, so there is no money to be earned. But make no mistake, they are all the absolute best at their sports in the world.
So, I have changed my mind, bring on the pros. Besides, what person from Lithuania wouldn’t love the opportunity to play basketball against Lebron James…even knowing they will be severely beaten. This make me wonder why basketball is even in the summer games, I mean their U.S. season is played indoors…during the winter! Must be because they wear shorts and tank tops.
All of this being said, I think I have watched maybe an hour of Olympics this time around. Regardless…GO USA!