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Quickie Poll: Olympics

Several factors at play here: The worry over whether security will be adequate enough; the revelation yesterday of incoming terror attacks this summer (with the Olympics specifically cited); the unwillingness of security officials in Greece to allow Israeli athletes to bring their own security; those same officials warning American and Israeli athletes to not wear their countries colors or symbols in public during the Olympics and the fear that we might antagonize other countries by waving our flag after victories, the question is (and a very hypothetical one(: Do you think we should ask our athletes to stay home from the summer Olympics? Update: Some relevant links.

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» Stay or go? from Galen's Log
Michele at ASV asks if the American athletes should sit out the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. At lot of interesting comments at here site, but I feel if we stay home, it is a victory for terrorism. First athletes [Read More]

Comments

Ask? No.

But if they don't want to go, can't blame them.

If I couldn't bring my own muscle, I wouldn't go.....

Part of me says hell yes. Fuck everyone else. Part of me says no way. Go, wave the flag, wear the colors. Who in the hell are these asshats to tell us not to show our pride??

I am so on the fence on this one it isn't even funny.... sigh

I think we should let them know that it would be OK if they chose to opt out.

No. In fact, think we should tell them to be MORE obnoxious, more pro-American, wave more flags, and sing Rosanne Barr-style when the national anthem is played. Then have 'em eat a McRib sandwich, wash it down with a Coke, and stomp on the Silver and Bronze winners with their Nike shoes.

I'm sure that I'll get my wish when the NBA players slumming it in the Basketball competition takes the Gold.

No. The athletes have been training for this there whole life; to compete at the Olympics is their reason for living. It would be unfair not to let them go.

In college, I rowed crew for a couple of seasons. Our coach was scheduled to compete in the Olympics in '80, which the US ultimately boycotted. He never recovered, and ultimately took his own life one day. Certainly his suicide can't be blamed on just the 1980 Olymoic fiasco, but it undoubtedly played a major role. Let them go.

I'm not sure that they should be asked to stay home, but given that they're civilians, not military, then maybe the offer to opt out should be extended.

If they do go, they sure as hell should not be asked to tone down the fact that they're American. I see no point in acquiescing to thugs in that manner. None whatsoever.

Participation in the Olympics is a personal decision. I am fairly certain they have alternates available in the event an athlete gets injured. I belive that if a particular athlete decides the risk is too much, they should be ALLOWED to opt out, but it should in no way be something their country asks them to do.

I am on the fence on this also.

We shouldn't encourage are citizens to participate in the Olympics. Why should the athletes and spectators be targets? Why should anti-American, pro-Islamofascits get our money?

OTOH, we should just humiliate everyone, win everything we can and be as obnoxious as possible in the process. Park a couple of carrier groups in the Med and Persian Gulf and let it be known that if 1 person is harmed at the Olympics, Mecca and Medina will be nuked from the face of the planet and the rest of the Arab/Muslim world will be forceably converted to another religion [don't care which, they all offend Islamofascists]

/end rant

Absolutely not. While I agree with the warnings that the athletes shouldn't go around wearing a big "I'm American! Kidnap me now!" sign while they're out in public, I think the suggestion that they avoid celebrating a victory with flag waving is wrong.

This is another one of those "damned if you do..." scenarios. Go, and we're the ugly Americans lording our superiority over the rest of the world. Don't go, and the most powerful country in the world gets to be called "chicken" by the rest of the playground.

I don't envy the athletes. I'm not sure if I'd have the guts to go, given the tensions and the reported lack of security. Win or lose, that makes them even bigger heroes to me than they'd already be (even the stupid Dream Team).

They should be allowed to choose, individually, not to go. Hopefully in that case, somebody further down the rankings could go instead.

However, we HAVE TO be there. I agree with the person above who said that we need to be more in-your-face than usual.

I don't think we should ask them to stay home, but if it's their personal choice to stay home, they can. It's a free country.

We faced a similar setup in the 1936 Olympics, and that worked out fairly well.

Yes we should stay home.

Let some other country win most of the medals for a change, eh?

I'm afraid these Olympic games have Munich '72 written all over them. I wish it wasn't so, but jeebus- lax security, every Islamoterrorist-hugging nation a hop skip and jump away?

Greece hasn't even finished the damn swimming pools yet. This whole thing just seems like a huge mess waiting to happen.

I realize that these atheletes spend crazy amounts of time preparing for their window to compete, and one might say it's not fair, but life isn't fair sometimes. And I just get the feeling that sending our nations finest atheletes to become cannon-fodder and kidnap targets by our enemies in a nation that could care less what happens to them might not be such a grand idea.

We all remember '72, right?

the unwillingness of security officials in Greece to allow Israeli athletes to bring their own security; those same officials warning American and Israeli athletes to not wear their countries colors or symbols in public during the Olympics and the fear that we might antagonize other countries by waving our flag after victories,

No offense but these are both falsehoods.

a) Greek officials have subcontracted $330 million of the $1.3 billion they are spending on security to Israeli security companies. Thos ecompanies will have armed guards protecting the Israeli athletes. Not the Greek and Israeli officials are denying this publically but it is a FACT.

Incidently the $330 million portion (1/4) of Greek security going to Israeli companies is more that the total security Budget for post 911 Salt Lake.

b) You are directly falsifying (I hope it isn't intentional) who said what with "those same officials." It is US officials who have made this statement and they have made the same statement for International events in Istanbul, Rome and elsewhere in post 911.

I know this becasue my brother-in-law works for one of the Israeli contractors. He say the level of cooperation with both the old Greek government and the new one is unprecedented. Athens is crawling with U.S., Israeli, and other outside secuirty forces. This would be something no nation wold want to go out of its way to publicize.

You kow I recently read on a well known blog about how Greece's position supporting right of return was "Antisemitic." As a strong supporter of israel, but as someone who also knows Greece, I really found it offensive that such a position should be used as the center of an Antisemitism charge so completely out of context. Greece's position on right of return has been consistant for 20 years and has nothing to do with Israel per se, it has to do with their core interest on the Cyprus issue. Should Greeks charge Israelis with antigreek prejudice based on their general opposition to right of return in international fora?

Let's let the Olympics be the Olympics. They were invented by the Greeks and are a truley rare and unique gift. One can find FEW international events where the best US and Israeli young people are so widely welcomed and have an opportunity to do some good on the international stage.

Lastly much has been made of the IOC not naming Jerusalem as the Capital. Lest we forget George W. Bush was against the Clinton administration's movement toward recognizing Jerusalem and Bush took proactive actions to stal and limit it when he came into office. (I am a Bush supporter but that is a fact. Does that make him an Antisemite?)

How come they aren't asking the British to leave their colors at home? No way should we accept their demands. I wouldn't ask our guys to stay home, and I wouldn't tell them to leave their colors either. Also, we should take some marines, dress them up like wrestling coachs, and let them just happen to hang out with the Israeli athletes ... at all times.

I have a buddy who was on the 1980 Olympic team to no where - trust me when i say this: The worst thing you cd do to an athlete who trained his/her entire life for the apex of the athletic career is to them them "sorry you shdn't/can't go".

American athletes should go, take every gold they can, wave the flag, and come home the winners that they are.

However, Americans (particularly Jews) should avoid Greece at all costs. Olympics or not, avoid Greece. Go to Astoria if you want Greek food, go to Italy if you want "greek charm". Don't put a dollar into the Greek economy.

David, some links you might be interested in. I didn't pull this stuff out thin air.

here.

I agree with Lair. Instead of giving them books with handy non-english phrases, we should just give them a piece of paper that says, "WHY THE HELL CAN'T YOU SPEAK ENGLISH!?!?!?"

No. I don't think so. I do think we should give them security.

Hell, no. We're Americans, dammit. Jimmy Carter was an idiot.

All of your arguments on why we should go or let the atheletes go (or choose) are lovely. They really are. While well received here, do any of you really think terrorists give a shit about them? Nope, they don't. The "rare and unique gift" of the Olympics is just another opportunity for them to slaughter Americans and Jews, and they will do so without hesitation or remorse if they have the opportunity.

Is competing in a basketball game worth your life?

Count me in with the Let-them-go-and-exhort-our-athletes-to-be-as-jingoistic-and-annoying-as-humanly-possible crowd.

Seriously, though, I feel it would be tremendously unfair to our athletes to pull out of the Olympics, and a sign of cowardice. We should insist on additional security for the Americans, and perhaps make it clear to every athlete that they are prime terrorist targets.

The Olympics are a government sponsored effort to get us to pay attention to sports that we wouldn't otherwise, and should be ignored for that reason alone. Add to that the hatred that exists for the US throughout the world but especially in Europe, and our presence there would be an insult to ourselves. Our athletes can turn in the best times in the world in meets outside of the Olympics.

Faith,

The question is not "Is competing in a basketball game worth your life?" This is the question: Is your life worth living if you have to spend it cowering in the dark?

If the terrorists can get to the Olympics, which is going to be the most guarded event on the planet, they can get any event. If we won't go to events the terrorists can get, then we can't have events. Pretty soon we'd be the ones living in a cave.

Soli, there's a huge difference between having some common sense and living in a cave. Despite the internet rumor mongering of David, up there, there's simply no sense that the games will be secure, no justification for not allowing Israelis to bring their own security (as someone mentioned, 1972 anyone?). If there is such a feeling that for the US or Israeli atheletes to participate they must act like bleating sheep, why bother with it. Where's the glory/heroism/honor in that?

Living in NYC smack dab between 3 major targets and working a few blocks from the WTC, where I view the site all day every day, I am certainly not a cave person.

The Olympics are supposed to be about men and women from all over the world learning about each other and increasing their knowledge of other countries through competition. That's what they say at the Opening Ceremonies of every set of games that has ever occurred. The games are not supposed to be about politics. That's the ideal and it's not such a bad ideal on the whole, but invariably politics do play a part. The US boycotted the 1980 games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Carter thought it would in effect be endorsing the invasion if the US participated. I can only imagine what the world media would say now if we didn't go. If we backed out of the games over security fears, you can bet your last dollar we'd be branded as cowards, imperialists, and isolationists---that we think we're too good to compete with other countries.

In this day and age, where Americans are misunderstood at every turn, what purpose does it serve anyone, including the athletes, to back down on this one? No offense to the majority of the athletes, but certain highly visible athletes sure as hell don't have a problem competing for our country under good times. They get on teams to represent their country, and for some of them, a successful Olympic showing means big bucks in terms of endorsements and the like. But the minute there's a potential for it to be dicey, big names start backing down. I can't say that I blame them. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes, either, but it is hypocritical. They'll take the designation that they're the best America has to offer when times are good, but if times are bad and maybe America isn't as popular as it used to be...well, then it's up in the air. If athletes like Serena Williams and Shaquille O'Neal (two athletes who have said they might not attend the games because they're worried about terrorism threats)are really there to represent their country, and not themselves, well perhaps they should get with the program. I haven't heard a whole lot of remorse from those two that they wouldn't be able to represent "their country" at the games, but I have heard a goodly amount of whining about how worried they are about the security. Not that they shouldn't be worried, but hell...where exactly are their priorities? Where exactly is the spirit of the Olympic Games in that action?

It's a tough call. And quite frankly, I'm glad I'm not the one who has to make it.

Our athletes face a difficult decision and I will support either choice.

Our colors don't run anymore.

This isn't showing displeasure w/the commies.

I'm afraid these Olympic games have Munich '72 written all over them. I wish it wasn't so, but jeebus- lax security, every Islamoterrorist-hugging nation a hop skip and jump away?

Hopefully we have better marksman than the Germans. And this time, they want to die.

Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say, "Choose."
Sean: Gotta go with the belt, there.
Will: I used to go with the wrench.
Sean: The wrench, why?
Will: 'Cause fuck him, that's why.

-----------

Each athelete should be able to say no if they wish but I'm all for going, fuck them.

Not no, but HAYELL no, we shouldn't pull out of the Olympics. Yes, it's dangerous; so is walking out your door every morning. Terrorists want to kill us here on our own soil, anyway - are we going to knuckle under all 'round?

Don't get we wrong, I am extremely concerned about the security situation in Athens. I post on it almost every week. It scares me to consider the possibilities - but hell no, I'm not sitting at home. No way. If we just cower at home, then the terrorists - to use a big fat cliche - have already won.

I have to say that on further review of this situation, I don't think there really is a good answer for this.

If we go, odds are some nutball will either take a few atheletes hostage, or carbomb our hotel. We may have incredible security over there, but folks, it's in Greece- they aren't exactly are biggest supporters in the world right now. Someone will get paid off to let security around our teams lapse, and someone is going to get hurt or killed. Almost gaurunteed.

I agree that not going would be seen as cowardly by other nations though, and this may actually serve to worsen our overall image.

As has been said, I'm glad I don't have to make the decision.

ps.- It seems we aren't the only ones worried-

http://breakingnews.iol.ie/sport/iestory.asp?j=645058069663&p=645×58×7x34x&n=645058070342t=sport

I think we should be bringing our own security and not take no for an answer on that front. Israel too.

Anyone who claims this is a simple issue just isn't paying attention.

If I were one of the athletes, I think I would probably go because it would be impossible for me to throw away all that work for fear of an attack. But as a potential spectator, there's no way I would go to Greece even if someone offered me an all-expenses-paid trip. If there's even a minor attack the place will immediately turn into a circus, and there's a reasonable chance there could be a major attack of some kind. It's also a fact that we are reviled by much of the rest of the world right now - even if there are no attacks, I can't imagine any possibility that it will be a fun sporting event to attend (or watch on television, for that matter).

Maybe they should be advised to behave in a fair, sports(wo)manlike manner, gracious in victory, generous in defeat.

They can then send a similar message to our conutry's leaders - of all political persuasions.

Since steroids made all the records meaningless, and since they started having the Olympics every ten minutes, there has never been any point in sending anyone.

Instead of having athletes compete, they should send the doctors and test them to see who's the best at enhancing performance with illegal drugs. Then give HIM the medal.

The Olympics are garbage.

And don't get me started on the use of professional athletes. "Amateur" my ass.

Hell no, we shouldn't ask them!
We can't fault them if they DON'T want to go, but changing our plans is totally un-American.

Think I have to go with MikeR on this one: I think the spectators are at much more risk than the athletes.

Why choose hard targets like guarded athletes when you have nice, juicy, soft targets sitting in the stands?

I hate to reference fiction, but Tom Clancy was only 2 miles off-target in Debt of Honor; how far off will he be with Rainbow 6?

Coming back to reality...

We should go, kick ass, show our colors, bring home medals and not for one god-damn minute feel sorry or guilty about it.

And if any athlete wishes to stay home, I for one won't hold it against them.

Hell no. Each athlete can choose on their own, but as a country, we need only state the risks, have great security, and confront any risk head-on. To stay home is a victory for terrorism.

But we should not chastise or demean anyone choosing to stay home. That personal decision is for each person.

Ask them not to go? Not at all. It's up to them to decide if they want to go. I certainly wouldn't judge them for not going however!

It would be sad to not be represented, since that would only be a victory for our oppressors. At the same time, I'm not going to tell the parents of the female gymnasts that their not true Americans just because they want to keep their kids home.

But I think that if they think we will go and not wave our flag, they have another thing coming. Make all the uniforms just one big giant flag. With a flag for a cape. And more flags just for fun.

Is there a way they can stop us from sending extra security? :P

I don't know if I would go. Why oh why oh why did it have to be greece of all places.... I mean, if you want to hijack a plane, that's the place to go!

Greece hasn't been a US "supporter" for decades.

They're commies. Even w/the new gov't which is "right." Compared to what? Not our "right."

I spent a couple of weeks there,overall, people were very nice, but they've never really "liked" us. Do some research on Papadrou(sp).

Make it very, very, very clear that we can't vouch for their security, that they will be, as Americans, targets (whether or not they wave the flag or make a big point of being American or not), and then let them make their own choices. These people are grown ups. If the risk is worth it to them, why make them stay home. But if they go, they're on their own. The government can't be their baby sitter.

Laurie K.

To not go would be to surrender to the asshats.

Go, wear the uniform, participate, win -- or not --, celebrate properly, and come home in the true Olympic spirit. Flag-waving on victory laps, uhh, that's a bit too much but probably excuseable as long as it's not planned.

I don't remember that Jews were warned not to attend the '72 Olympics, but maybe they were. We should have as much courage.

Hell no we shouldn't ask them to stay home. These are athletes, not 4 year olds, they're reading and hearing the same news we are, probably more so. They can make up their own minds what they want to do in regards to going. I know if I had the ability I'd be over there in a heartbeat.

And flag waving during a victory lap is not a bit too much! Are you kidding me? You see that during every Olympics and from every country, it's pretty much standard. I hope every one of our victorious athletes waves our flag with pride during their victory celebration!

htom, you must not remember the 80 Winter Olympics with Jim Craig draped in the flag after we won the gold in hockey!

I, too, keep thinking of Munich '72 - I have a bad feeling about this, and the recent bombings in Greece don't exactly improve my confidence. I agree with Laurie K that the government can't be the babysitter for these athletes, but I can picture in my mind the future Senate hearings demanding to know why the government "didn't do something to stop it." Whatever "it" is.

I'd be all for asking them not to go just to give the finger to Greece at this point, but I'm childish like that.

Why drop one thin dime into their shitty little economy if they're going to do things like ban Israeli security? Fuck them.

I would leave the choice to them, I think.

What about you New Yorkers (like you Michele) do you really want the Olympics there?

I've heard a lot of negative reaction to this from New Yorkers.

I do remember Mr. Craig's flag-draped lap, and the "tsk-tsking" about it, as well. The grin on his face was more than sufficient apology for the slight offence I felt. I'm not going to claim that that was the first such demonstration by an Olympian at such a time, but it was one of the most publisized.

The crowd waving flags is a very different thing; that's not what I was objecting to. I suppose I should object to it, from every country, because it's supposed to be about the individual (and team) performances, not about country medal totals, but I gave up that foolish ideal long ago, and mostly suffer in silence about it.

I just hope we're providing some extra security. Secret if necessary, but we should tell the IOC and Greece that we're protecting our own.
I bet Israel does it as a matter of course.

My maternal grandfather was a nationally-ranked high jumper in the late 1930's, and was a favorite to make the Olympic track-and-field team in 1940--which wasn't to be, of course. I know what he would have chosen, given the chance and the choice Michele has asked us about. Each athlete should be allowed to make the choice for themselves, and should be as loudly patriotic as they want to be, the complaints of the usual suspects be damned.

Hell no, please don't go.

Nothing new, just my two cents.
They are under no obligation to go.
I hope they do.
God forbid if anything happens to
them we should hunt down the people
who do it (all those who cite '72
seem to forget that the Israelis
proved quite competent at avenging
their dead).

Do I want anything bad to happen to
our athletes? Of course not, but
if something were to happen I think
the idea of multiple concrete targets
on whom we could vent our wrath could
actually be a morale boost.

So either our athletes go, terrorists
miss a chance to hurt us or are seen
as week. Or the worst happens, we
catch them (and if something happens
we WILL catch them) and morale is
boosted. It's win-win. Terrorists lose or terrorists die.

Yes. And when they march in the Opening Ceremonies, they all should have their hand up. What finger(s) they use could be optional.

Elizabeth
Imperial Keeper

One of my grandparents came from the Jewish Community Athens duinrg the 1930's. I have been to Greece perhaps a half dozen times. My experience in Greece has always been very good. I never had trouble being open about being either American or Jewish. I also meet a whole lot of Israelis visiting. I believe Greece is the third most popular tourist destination for Israelis.

The Greeks are cited in all the history books as having defended their Jewish community on a fairly broad front during the war, including a lot of dangerous pro-active covert and overt actions by their Orthodox Christian Clergy.

Here in the US we have a adadge "don't talk politics." Greeks are the opposite. They enjoy talking politics, and spirited debate at the dinner table, with friends and with strangers.
So you are going to get a lot of open opinions on Israeli politics and actions. So what? They live in the region, are affected by Israel's alliances (e.g. Turkey), have Greek Orthodox refugees, and long supported the Kurds, who turned out to be the one faction in and around Iraq to have been US friends.

In the 50's they were also the only European pawn in the "cold" war to experience a "hot" proxy war, this following their decisive defeat of the Italians and crushing invasion by the Germans (at which time they were the ONLY country activly fighting the German army on the European mainland!)

When it comes to Israel, in all fairness, Israel developed a very close relationship with Turkey, which threatened Greece diplomatically and miltarily. We don't think about that, but the Greeks know it. At the time Turkey was a military dictatorship with a very aggressive posture toward Greece. Now that Turkey is a "democracy" there langage against Israel -- in the press, by top government officials, and the ever more vocal clergy is worse than anything we ever saw from Papandreou.

I'd be all for asking them not to go just to give the finger to Greece at this point, but I'm childish like that.
Why drop one thin dime into their shitty little economy if they're going to do things like ban Israeli security? Fuck them.

I guess the person above knows nothing about the actual arrangements. As someone mentioned, and as a bit of research shows, Israel is the largest subcontractor of security to the Athens Olympics, after the U.S. The Israeli contract alone is more than Sydney or post 9/11 Salt Lake spent on security in total!

Fuck the athletes.

Crank, YOU'RE a fucking idiot.