Color me skeptical.
I am of the opinion that all professional sports are rigged. The reason is simple. There’s just too much money involved for it to be otherwise. From loaded baseball bats to loaded cyclists, from stolen secrets in Formula One to corrupt officials, you have the same dynamic at work as in Wall Street. A poorly paid population of regulators who couldn’t make it as the real thing and infinitely wealthy sponsors for whom a referee or Congressman or regulator is chump change.
Take the current idiotic spectacle called the Olympics which makes me doubly happy I no longer have to commute on the London Underground. Sponsors? Why those purveyors of healthy lifestyles named McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. The one responsible for the greatest outbreak of obesity yet seen, the other for global diabetes. And the athletes? Big Pharma runs through their veins, always one step ahead of poorly paid …. yup, regulators. The comical posturing against doping is the ultimate in self-deception. The rational thing to do is to make all doping legal. We would get greater gladiatorial spectacle and Pfizer and Merck could join MCD and KO in the sponsorship drive. Would I go to the Olympics to watch a 10 second dash? Meh. Any one of dozens can run it in 10 seconds. But make it seven seconds with maybe the added thrill of someone croaking at the end and my ticket money is in hand. “Smith sets new dash record and dies at line. First posthumous gold in Olympic history.” sells tickets. Big time. Hey, it’s all about profit, no? What do you care if some disadvantaged kid loads up on EPO instead of heroin? His job is to sell tickets and give you a (not so) cheap thrill. Panem et circenses. The Roman games are back.
None of that is to say that the world of sports has not produced some great photography; nor has that genre yielded its greatest work in the modern world of the point-and-shoot auto everything 12 frames a second DSLR which, frankly, anyone can make great sports pictures with. Point, press, hose it about a bit. Child’s play. The technology has done more to debase sports photography and ruin the livelihood of hundreds of snappers than anything else.
One standout in the genre is David Burnett who has snapped at the last seven summer Olympics, which means before the auto-everything era. You can see more of his great work by clicking his picture below.
Click the picture
Meanwhile, I’ll be saving hundreds of hours by not watching the rigged stupidity of the Olympic Games. But I may catch a rigged Formula One race in the meanwhile. The machines are a whole lot cooler than the hyper-thyroid zonkers on the track and most of the drivers at least have an IQ in triple digits.
Want to get a sense of what the Olympics are meant to be about? I mean competing, not sugared water sponsorhip? Watch this.