10/07/2024 strategic-culture.su  9min 🇬🇧 #252303

This summer's Paris Olympics risks descending into a French farce


Declan Hayes

Circuses like the Olympics and the World Cup are, in essence, intangible brands that muscle gullible Third World countries like France, Brazil and South Africa to pay fortunes to host their jamborees.

This summer's Paris Olympics must surmount some truly Olympian hurdles, the chief of which, if our friends in  Estonian Intelligence are to be believed, is Vladimir Putin's disinformation efforts. Although it is anyone's guess why Russia would want to play spoilsport to a series of games that seem destined for economic failure, more to the point is why Estonia, a country of just over a million people, would be able to obtain that information, where the vastly superior intelligence forces of the United States and France could not.

The only explanation I can find for this is that the Estonians are lying through their one million odd sets of teeth in an effort to sound important. That said, may Estonia's 23 competitors at the 2024 Summer Olympics bring eternal glory to Estonia, her crack intelligence services included. Slava Estonii and all that.

Likewise to the 134 athletes representing Ukraine. May they, their trainers, their families and their camp followers avoid Zelensky's military draft and lead long and prosperous lives in France or some other country that will take them in. And, if they intend to return to Zelensky's Reich, may they manage to avoid the small contingents of 26 Russian and 16 Belarusian athletes the CIA has allowed to compete at the games, as  Zelensky has decreed that any such fraternising is haram.

If Zelensky and his bedfellows were not such rank ignoramuses, they would know that, not only does that fly in the face of the Olympics' spirit, but it is also flies in the face of the example set when America's  Jesse Owens befriended German athlete Luz Long at the 1936 Olympics. That Obergefrieter Luz Long of Hitler's Wehrmacht was infinitely more sporting than Zelensky will allow his own troops to be tells us all we need to know about that bum's attitude to sport.

Not that Ukraine or their narcissistic leader is the main event. Far from it. Ever since Hitler's 1936 Berlin extravaganza, the purpose of the modern Olympics has been to show that the jacked-up athletes of the USA are the world's best and, by extension, that American products and American values (whatever they are), are likewise the world's best.

Because the Yanks have the biggest contingent of athletes at Paris ( 591 compared to third place China's 398),  Paddy Power has the Yanks at odds on to win the most medals. Although the medals will tally out the right way, the real problem comes with pimping products and covering the organisers' huge costs in Paris.

Whilst those costs almost bankrupted Montreal in 1976 and Athens in 2004, Tokyo in 1964 best exemplifies the approach of Japan, China and Russia to such outlays. Tokyo showed that, technologically and financially, Japan was a match for the West and that the considerable technological logistics needed to make the games a success were well within their capabilities. No matter who won the medals in Tokyo ( USA 90, USSR 96), those Olympics were a very major success for Japan Inc, which is now a byword in efficiency, hi tech and, equally importantly, Hello Kitty too.

Fast forward to Paris 2024 and France is on the ropes. Although the 567 athletes representing France will no doubt bring sporting honours galore to the host nation, the question is at what cost and to whom.

Air France, one of the  Olympics' primary sponsors, is bracing itself to take  a massive $180 million hit, as punters regard a holiday in Paris as being simply too dangerous. But Air France is not the only major French company that has rallied to the tricolour. Although French sportings goods retailer Decathlon has been a major sponsor, Decathlon is not and probably never will be synonymous with Olympic gold.

Decathlon's modus operandi has been to churn out own brand products, and to eschew celebrity brand endorsement to keep costs down. All fine and good, but NATO's Olympics are about celebrities and the apparel they wear, as well as the  huge financial inducements Adidas, Under Armor, Nike, Puma and the others fork out to "their" winners. It is not at all clear to me why Decathlon can take on those behemoths at what they, rather than Decathlon, do best.

Much the same goes for luxury goods brand LVMH, which is surely in a different market than the likes of  Nike's Ronaldo or  Adidas' Messi. Given that France only accounts for 7% of LVMH's global sales, one might have imagined their efforts might have been better put to use in Asia or the United States which, between them, account for  60% of LVMH's global sales.

All of which bring us back to Hello Kitty and the issue of mascots, where France seems to have again misfired. Although Hello Kitty is an almost unique cultural phenomenon, France seems be barking up the wrong tree with its  traditional Phrygian cap. Patriotic as such a cap may be, it does not capture that je ne sais quoi in the same manner that Hello Kitty does or, for that matter, that  Misha the Bear did in Moscow in 1980.

Without going all Vladimir Putin on this, bears are an easy sell and NATO are making this French farce the mother of all hard sells. Not only is Paris a war zone, but the whole emphasis has been on making the games politically correct, rather than them being a showcase for the best that sport has to offer. Ukraine, which is nothing more than a (Phrygian) cap in hand NATO cat's paw to attack Russia, is claiming credit for having  Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from the opening ceremony.

But these Hollywood style opening ceremonies should be scrapped because they are an awful waste of money that prove absolutely nothing. But then, so too should the current Olympics in their present form, as all they are is a means for Adidas and Nike to showcase their wares, in this case, largely at the expense of the French tax payer.

Circuses like the Olympics and the World Cup are, in essence, intangible brands that muscle gullible Third World countries like France, Brazil and South Africa to pay fortunes to host their jamborees, whilst the IOC and FIFA take any profits that are going. Japanese auto giant Toyota, which has recently slung $1 billion to the Olympics, is one of many international companies  calling time on this swindle. Though the Japanese like to play by the rules, Toyota is fed up playing with the IOC's loaded dice. After Paris, Toyota, its shareholders will be happy to hear, will be saying adieu, sayonara and goodbye to these rip-off merchants.

Although Los Angeles will have to find other suckers for the 2028 Games, the real issue is that American crass commercialism and NATO's political opportunism have combined to drain the life blood from these circuses that once meant something.

In keeping with kicking Russia and Belarus out, whilst rolling out the red carpet for  Korean pop stars, Israel's 87 athletes and a gaggle of  dubious LGBT contestants, Paris, where  pensioners recently died in droves from the heat, was supposed to be the greenest Olympics ever. Faced with global warming but more so with a potential uprising by competing athletes,  NATO had to relent and install hundreds of air conditioner units, which the competitors, Ukrainian paupers most likely excepted, have to pay for out of their own pockets.

For my own part, I would much prefer to watch YouTube show their mastery of Irish dancing, albeit with  their own touch of the Russian steppes, than I would to watch the French, Estonians and Ukrainians in their gondolas and Hello Kitty hats glide their way to God knows where down the Seine. Though the beauty of Irish dancing is that, generally speaking, all the contestants get medals and, though those young girls deserve all the medals going, their greater significance is that, as with  Kazan and  Gibraltar, they will inspire others to look away from NATO controlled circuses for new heroes to emulate in excellence and I, for one, salute them in their efforts to dance faster, higher and stronger than those who first inspired them.