You are quite right to deplore the negative aspects of the Olympics: the politics, the hype, the national rivalries, the commercialism and, above all, the emphasis on winning. You are absolutely right to say that the Greeks put us on the wrong path when they made their games competitive. Where were the Stoics when they did that? Where was Socrates?
These are, of course, the questions the athletes ask. They know that the press and the advertising agencies are to blame for brainwashing the world for their nefarious reasons. The athletes play along for many reasons, including corporate support responsibilities, but also because they enjoy the sport. They are used to losing. Before being chosen to compete in the Olympics, each one of them has lost many races but, still, keeps going – not in order to win eventually – they know the chances may be slim – but because they enjoy being admired and, no doubt, they enjoy the sexual (and other) rewards. They deserve them because most of them are nice to look at. And they work hard.
So let us be democratic about this. The majority of Olympic athletes are losers. So are the majority of those of us who are not.
Just don’t tell the press about this.