The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Human endeavour

Is it too late, I wonder, to hone the Olympics into something of only human endeavour, quantifiable (without artistic element, for I think that any attempt to quantify art within such narrow edges must inherently be too subjective to have any real comparable meaning), without any dependency upon another living being?

Within the concept of sport as martial training and then as martial substitute, equestrian events are as well established at the Olympics as almost any other, excepting perhaps those of track-and-field: and modern directed sponsorship and viewership ensures that team captains and coaches - if not perhaps, willingly, riders (or at least so one hopes) -- will continue to subject horses beyond the limits of their abilities and their endurance. Yet I think perhaps these sports have no place in an Olympics at least theoretically divorced from its martial training origins, theoretically dedicated to what human will -- alone -- can accomplish.

Drug issues and such will -- must -- exist by the very nature of a continual striving toward faster, stronger, higher in a world where pharmacopaea helps make it so. Within the core goals of the Olympics, there is no real counter-incentive to their use!

Still, so long as it is the athletes alone who choose to subject themselves to the risk of pushing envelopes, be it through pushing their bodies beyond what is generally healthy for a human body (athletes at this level are rarely generally healthy) or through drug regimens, in full knowledge of what they are choosing to do to themselves; so long as no living being is done to similarly against its active will: why not just shrug, as with the "professional/amateur" loopholed illusion which had existed for years, and let the athletes do what they wish to their own bodies?

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