Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympics and Amateurs

I remember when they first let pros play basketball in the Olympics. I thought then that it was a bad idea and a desperate attempt by the US to win a medal. I still think that way every time the Olympics come round and I see the NBA players participating. The Olympics should be for amateurs. With all the talk about golf trying to join the Olympics, I think it needs to be emphasized that the Olympics should be for those who aren't already paid millions of dollars a year to play the sport of their choice. Is it really in keeping with the spirit of the Olympics to have a Tiger Woods win the gold medal? Tiger can afford the best clubs, the best training facilities, the best doctors, coaches, gurus, travel accomodations. Life is pretty comfy for him or any PGA Tour player compared to any guy participating in the US Amateur this year. And how often and how much heart would a Tiger put into the Olympics? Would he play the first one's he's eligible for and then bow out of it the next time? Andy Roddick of tennis fame is not participating this year by his own choice. In a sport where there is a backlash if anyone suggests changing the line up or adding a fifth major, would the pro players really want an Olympics to interrupt their finely tuned schedules once every four years? If people truly see the Olympics as a chance to grow the game world wide, then instead of opening it up to professionals, there should be an organized effort to pick the best amateurs from different age groups to partcipate. It would grow the game in the US and the world if only amateurs were allowed as there are only so many professionals out there, but many times more amateurs. If the pros want to participate, then they can coach the amateurs.

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