IOC

The Olympics as canary in coal mine

If English is not your first language, or you have forgotten or never learned about the dangers inherent in mining, or you have (inexplicably) little to no regard for “Zenyatta Mondatta,” the classic 1980 album from The Police, herewith an appreciation of the phrase “canary in a coal mine.”

And why, like the canary, the Olympic movement is an eerily prescient predictor of change buffeting our uncertain, if not broken, world — the kind of change that produced Brexit, the vote Thursday that will now lead to the United Kingdom’s self-inflicted divorce from the European Union.

IOC president Thomas Bach at this week's executive board meetings // photo IOC

IOC

Where is the joy?

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — To use a favorite saying of Thomas Bach’s, the International Olympic Committee president, the IOC’s policy-making executive board and Bach himself did a great job — over three days of meetings that wrapped up Thursday — of talking the talk.

Amid corruption and doping scandals in, respectively, soccer and track and field, the IOC board and president talked up the import of maintaining — if not restoring — the credibility of international sport.

The scene at a surfing U.S. Open in recent years in Huntington Beach, California // photo U.S. Open of Surfing

IOC

Dude, like, IOC walks the surf, skate, climb walk

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said in implementing his would-be 40-point reform plan, dubbed Agenda 2020, that talking the talk simply won’t do. To make the plan real, he has stressed, the entire Olympic movement must walk the walk.

The IOC, indeed the Olympic movement worldwide, tends to be conservative, traditional, cautious. This is the obvious problem with urging sports officials, even the most well-meaning, to make bold change in line with much-needed reforms.