With the Rio Olympics opening ceremony now only a few weeks away, it would seem that the IOC – and some of the governing bodies of sports admitted to the ‘family’ – could do with more adverse advance publicity like a hole in the head.
The IOC is a bit like FIFA is to football and maybe Bernie Ecclestone [sorry, I meant to say the owners/controllers of Formula One] is to motor racing, i.e. keen to see their brands develop around the world by awarding its Biggest Event to ever more obscure and undeserving host nations.
I’m not necessarily saying that Rio is either obscure or undeserving as such, at least on the scale of Athens in 2004, but – let us face facts – it is now right in the middle of major economic and political crises; there have also been worrying stories filtering out of relative unpreparedness as regards venues and infrastructure; also of growing incidents of public street muggings and violence; of raw untreated sewerage being found on the sailing courses and other ‘open water’ venues where triathletes and perhaps other competitors will be obliged to swim; and of course – to cap it all – the Zika virus health risk, albeit that the World Health Authority has pronounced it manageable … (er … provided that participants take the necessary precautions).
In which context, golfer Rory McIlroy’s outburst yesterday at a previewing press conference for The Open, which begins tomorrow at Royal Troon, must have set the dovecotes within the IOC and the International Golf Federation fluttering with alarm.
See the report that appears on the website of The Guardian newspaper today written by Ewan Murray here – RORY McILROY OPENS UP
See also the response of Peter Dawson, chairman of the IGF, as reported by golf correspondent James Corrigan on the website of the Daily Telegraph – DAWSON REACTION
Personally I find McIlroy’s comments a welcome example of a professional athlete telling it like it is, instead of (as per usual) just spewing platitudes by the paragraph in the endless succession of ten minute interview that his ilk in every sport on Earth are contractually obliged to given to media crews from around the world at every sporting venue and event they attend.
I never thought professional golf – indeed any golf at all – should have be admitted to the Olympics.
I subscribe to the widely held view that Olympic sports should be confined to those for which the Olympics are the biggest event of all. Thus golf, tennis and football should have been automatically disqualified before their applications were even considered – none of them qualify under this rather fundamental heading.