Saturday, July 3, 2021

Crime and Punishment

 ("Why We Hold Olympic Athletes to Such Ridiculous and Cruel Standards")

There is such evident pain in these competitions. Years of obsessive attention, of endless deprivations, of relentless pressure, all exploding in the slightest hiccup on a balance beam, in a twinge as a hamstring revolts down a final straightaway, in a million different ways that, in a blink of an eye, turn dreams into disaster.

And then there are the drug failures.

A career suddenly swallowed up by a burrito, an antidepressant, a missed test after an abortion, a hit of weed after a parent's death. If there is honesty to any of these defenses, the emotional agony these athletes endure must be overwhelming. If indeed they have not sought competitive advantage, and worse, if in fact their transgression has not produced an unintended edge, then their hearts must be broken, their anguish almost undescribable.

And when this happens to the best we have to offer, on the biggest stage, when the light will finally shine the brightest, when all the hard work will be on glorious display, then we mourn for their loss.

We do not know where the truth ends and the excuse begins for Sha'Carri Richardson and other athletes who endure these most public humiliations. But if their tales have even the possibility of reality, then we are left saddened and angered by the insanity of a system where the severity of the punishment bears no relation to the significance of the crime.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

If you’re in favor of the prosecution of the Trump Org for tax evasion you must also be in favor of a consequence for an elite athlete who knowingly violates the rules of the Olympics. We are rules by laws not men.