Archive | April, 2015

2015 is rolling down the hill, but towards what?

20 Apr







In ten days or so, The FEI Sports Forum will hold its annual meeting and once again the blackmail–scusi, the discussion– will begin.
How best to re-create, present, and change/adapt horse sport to the IOC perspective and thus save horse sport, blah blah blah.

For what seems like forever, I have shrugged and admitted that the blackmail position holds me in thrall; that horse sport MUST be in the Olympics; that the ROI for sponsors and for funding means that horse sport must appear on the global stage.

But maybe that is not true.

Maybe it is time to recognize what Andrew Zimbalist means in titling his book “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.”

That the only countries left who truly want to bother putting on the Olympics are mainly dictatorships, because everyone else recognizes that the corruption of IOC and their bloated requirements make sport lower than secondary to the insatiable desire for more and more TV revenue; that it is nearly impossible to break even, let alone make any money by hosting the Olympics , given the economic realities.

What are the figures, according to Zimbalist?
China spent $40 billion to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and Russia spent $50 billion for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Qatar, which will be the site of the 2022 World Cup, is estimating that it will spend $200 billion.
On World Cup Soccer.
Of course, as much of that has been revealed as bribe and graft money, it remains to be seen if FIFA actually keeps World Cup in this location. But I wonder how much choice they will have?

Horse sport is about admiring and cheering on the partnership between human and horse. That means adequate infrastructure, which for dressage and show jumping means arenas, stalls, and (please! no more Caen!) decent toilets. Even as FEI’s survey reveals that most people do indeed want to admire the partnership, the harmony, the courage of an alien and human working together — they insist there is also the need for bling, for glitz, for sound bytes! For noise machines and circus! For …you get the picture.

Under current IOC guidelines, bidders may drop sports, add new sports, and basically be creative in how they see their budgets, so long as they guarantee TV revenue to IOC..

I started out thinking we need to beg and borrow, if not steal, to stay in the Olympics.
And then I realized “the Olympics” I had in mind was the one from my childhood. When we in the US has USET and we all dreamed of ‘making the Team’.
That Olympics is long, long gone.
And maybe horse sport should be in the forefront of the move to secede from this all-too-bloated and corrupt greed machine that is the current Olympic circus.