The Most Powerful Government in The World (With My Tom Brady-like ‘Maybe, Maybe Not, Then Again’ Pronouncement)

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A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still A Rose, Despite What The IOC SaysArthur Solomon

This is a good news, bad news, probably essay.  The bad news for some readers is that it’s another column about the International Olympic Committee and the Beijing Olympics. The good news for many readers is that it’s the last column I’ll be writing about these recently concluded Beijing Olympic Games (I’m pretty sure, i.e. probably). But as Tom Brady once said when he was asked about his retirement: “I think that’s the best way to put it and I don’t think anything, you know, you never say never. At the same time I know that I’m very, I feel very good about my decision. I don’t know how I’ll feel six months from now.”  I probably couldn’t have said it better about my today feelings, but wish I could.

It didn’t take Brady six months to change his mind about retiring.  Six weeks after announcing that he was hanging up his helmet, on March 13, he tweeted, “These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.”

Only Brady knows why he changed his mind. My guess is that the thought of his wife saying 365 days a year, “Tom, please take the garbage out” every day might have been the deciding factor.

Following Brady’s flip flop, I’m more certain than ever that this might be my last column about the Olympics in 2022, but, then again, maybe not, because in my house taking out the garbage is not the most frequent order from my wife.  It’s, “Why don’t you cool it about the Olympics, for a couple of years and write about important sports like tennis and figure skating.”

Just as I was about to acquiesce to my wife’s request, on April 8 the Associated Press reported, “WASHINGTON (AP) — A “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” TV star, a Paralympic swimmer and a self-described  “brand king” were among the Instagram and TikTok influencers who were paid by Chinese officials for a discreet campaign that promoted the Beijing Winter Olympics, new Justice Department documents reveal,” and that, “The posts were not properly labeled as ads in the way that TikTok and Instagram requires.”

So before I turn my thoughts to the antidemocratic actions of many in the Republican Party who worship at the feet of their cult-like leader, a former twice impeached president who doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction and is now living less than two hours from the habitat of equally dangerous creatures — alligators, crocodiles and Burmese Pythons, to name a few — below are my thoughts regarding another authoritarian organization. 

The years 2021 and 2022 made it obvious. It’s no longer a secret. The cat is out of the bag. And the bubble has burst: The most powerful government in the world is not located in Washington, D.C., the Kremlin or Beijing. It is located in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. (I’ve been there during my Olympic days. It’s truly beautiful, even though the forces that excused totalitarianism and ignored  morality is only minutes away.)

The members of this powerful governing body have never had to participate in an election of none IOC members. It consists of 102 active members, 44 honorary members, one honor member (United States), and 206 individual National Olympic Committees, overseen by its president Thomas Bach, who, like its former leaders, makes both freely elected heads of democratic states and those of totalitarian countries tremble in his presence.

The organization is, of course, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which yields so much power that mighty nations with their powerful armies and businesses that control the world’s economies vie for its favor, and even when they disagree with its decisions act in a way that will not hinder the IOC’s wants.  

Even though it is widely known that the IOC has been playing power politics since 1936, when it gave Hitler a clean bill of health and permitted Nazi Germany to stage both the Summer and Winter Olympics, despite it being known that the Hitler government had jailed thousands of people in concentration camps, and  even though IOC president Avery Brundage, the prime individual giving the Nazi Olympics the clean bill of health, insisted that the 1972 Olympics in Munich continue after 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were gunned down by Palestinian terrorists, the years 2021 and 2022, because of media coverage of the none sports  geopolitical aspects surrounding these Olympics, highlighted that the power of the IOC could no longer be camouflaged under the banner of bringing the world best athletes (or at least some of the best) to compete against each other on the field of sport. 

Instead the IOC was exposed as an organization that could see no evil, and hear no evil, but tolerates evil. 

The selfish and uncaring attitude of the IOC and its leaders has been exposed many times since the Nazi Olympic Games, most recently when it awarded the 2022 Winter games to China, a country that has had a history of human rights abuses and water shortages. For the Beijing games, the little water the area has was diverted from the use of the area’s farmers so it can be used for artificial snow making. In 2014 the Winter games were awarded to Sochi, Russia, a locale with a humid subtropical climate with cool to mild winters, which, I guess, the IOC thinks is the optimal climate for cold weather sports such as skiing.

Awarding its games to China, a country devoid of human rights, is only the latest instance of the IOC’s affinity for totalitarian governments. China was chosen to host the games in 2015, winning by four votes over Almaty, Kazakhstan, another authoritarian country of which Freedom House says:  “…Parliamentary and presidential elections are neither free nor fair, and major parties exhibit continued political loyalty to the government. The authorities have consistently marginalized or imprisoned genuine opposition figures. The dominant media outlets are either in state hands or owned by government-friendly businessmen. Freedoms of speech and assembly remain restricted, and corruption is endemic.” Notice sort of an IOC pattern? 

Insisting that the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing go on even though the world was still in the midst of a Covid pandemic that has thus far killed more than  6-million people proved both the power and self-interest of the ego-centric IOC.

Just how powerful is the IOC? According to a story from the February 11 New York Times, “In December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from international sports competitions after concluding that it had orchestrated and run a sprawling and state-sponsored doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.”

“The scheme had been active for years heading into the 2014 Olympics before one of its masterminds, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of a Moscow doping laboratory, came forward in 2016 to disclose the details,” said the article.

But in a devious contortion of William Shakespeare’s famous line from Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” the IOC decided that the Russian athletes can compete under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the 206 subservient National Olympic Committees, which could have threatened to boycott the games because of the IOC decision, meekly bowed and went along. 

It’s hard to equate the deaths of individuals with a sporting event. without appearing insensitive or uncaring, as Avery Brundage did when the Israeli Olympic team members were killed at the 1972 Munich games.

But the story of the IOC’s powerful grip on governments and businesses alike would not be complete without mentioning Mr. Bach’s speech at the Closing Ceremonies of the recently concluded games in totalitarian Beijing, during which he thanked the Chinese government for hosting the games.

However, he failed to mention the diplomatic boycotts, the charges by human rights abuses and worse by the Chinese government and the meeting and joint political statements of Russian President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the evening of the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

But, perhaps, the supremacy of the IOC has never been more visible and ludicrous than during their cult-like Opening Ceremony  which requires the leaders of the world’s most powerful countries to stand while the national anthem of Greece is played, followed by the absurd Olympic anthem. 

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games will long be remembered, but not for the feats of athletes. Instead it will rank with the two most notorious Olympics of all time – the 1936 games in Germany, known in history as the Nazi Olympics, and the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, during which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

In contrast to Mr. Bach’s refusing to denounce the totalitarian governments that have hosted so many of its games, Andrew Parsons president of the International Paralympics Committee, denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games on March 4.  Segments of his speech were censored for Chinese television watchers.

As an individual who has been involved with many aspects of the Olympics over the years – organizing committees, candidate cities, marketing sponsorships, speaking at an IOC media seminar and acting as a media advisor to government officials – I believe that the Olympics are the most important of all sporting events. But I also believe that there are many more important issues the world must solve that in comparison make the Olympics and any other sporting event minuscule. 

These issues, like health, freedom and human rights were ignored by the self-interest groups that insisted that the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Olympics in Beijing be played. And there’s enough disrepute to be shared by the IOC, NBCUniversal, the governments of Japan and China and the American “proud sponsors” that permitted those games to be played without having the courage to tell the IOC “no.”

A question to ponder: The population of the world is approximately 7.9 billion people. Estimates are that 2900 of the allegedly “world’s best athletes” competed in the Beijing Olympic Games in the totalitarian country of China. On your scale of 1 to 100, what’s more important? Having the world show its distaste for totalitarian China by not participating in their games, or letting 2900 athletes “live their Olympic dreams?” On my abacus the latter doesn’t add up.

The IOC website lists one of their goals “is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” Obviously that goal has been trashed by totalitarian Olympic host countries and yet the IOC continues to award their games to totalitarian governments. 

If the IOC truly believes its stated goal, it must cleanse itself from the filth of its past. The IOC must promise to never again award its games to a totalitarian government because IOC history shows that totalitarian countries that have hosted the Olympics have no compunction about waging war on other countries that have participated in their games. And Russia, a country that has hoisted both a Summer and Winter Olympics, must be condemned by the IOC for its attack on Ukraine if it truly believes that its games promote peace and is not just another mega sporting event.

A quote attributed to Albert Einstein is that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” That quote could also have come out of the mouth of presidents of the IOC. 

Eventually, the authoritarian-inclined IOC will have to choose a new leader. Because it receives the bulk of its financing from U.S. companies it’s not too far fetched to think that the next IOC president will be an American. Given the IOC’s history, it wouldn’t surprise me if they again awarded their games to another totalitarian government. And I have the perfect person to succeed Thomas Bach.  An individual who already has been a president, a person who numerous times has publicly expressed admiration for repressive leaders, and a person who has demonstrated his own authoritarian impulses – Donald J.Trump.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and was on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He has been a key player on Olympic marketing programs and also has worked at high-level positions directly for Olympic organizations. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com.