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PINE NUTS – Olympics 2023

November 25, 2023 | McAvoy Lane

We have had some wonderful traditions here in America that have fallen by the wayside. One that comes to mind, is a sweet and charming custom of the 1860 Hawaiian Islands, wherein all older women were called, “Mother.” A plantation worker who appealed to his Luna for a day off to bury his mother was always granted that day off. Mark Twain tells us of one plantation worker who appealed a second time for a day off to bury his mother, to wit the Luna protested, “I thought you buried your mother last week!”

“That was a…different mother.” 

Another tradition that is still remembered and brought up every two years, only to be serially dismissed, is The Olympic Truce, a mandate from the United Nations calling for a cessation of hostilities during the Olympic Games, to be held in Paris this summer. Do not cross your fingers, or you will end up cramping your fingers, without results.

You see, the International Olympic Committee brought up this resolution yet again at the United Nations last month and it was adopted with Russia and Syria abstaining. Did you hear the cheer? Me neither. Everybody knows The Olympic Truce Resolution is merely lip service, and has no teeth, only gums. Russia launched it’s assault on Ukraine while the Olympic Truce was still in effect. I’ll bet my golden gloves you didn’t know that. I sure didn’t. And what did the International Olympic Committee do?

On the day of Russia’s invasion, the IOC issued a condemnation, stripped President Putin of his perks, and turned away Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Paralympic Games. Imagine being a well-trained wheelchair athlete, and being turned away from the Olympics because of the belligerence of a politician. What a damn shame, not to forget the Ukrainians and Russians who have lost their lives.

On the upside, it looks like Russian and Syrian athletes who qualify for the Games this summer will compete as independent athletes, not representing any country. I can hear the Olympic announcer now, “And the winner of the gold medal in the women’s Olympic shot put is Tamara Press, representing…Tamara Press.”

Tamara Press, by the way, did win gold for Russia in the 1964 Tokyo Games. I was there, as a spectator, and had to laugh when she was given the nickname, “Baby Doll,” by American wags who thought she was a he.

Political competition will always get in the way of athletic competition, and the usual suspects are politicians who cannot run around the block.

I might have competed in those ’64 Games myself, and met Tamara Press, had I not stopped on Bourbon Street along my way to the Olympic Trials. But now, having given it much thought, I would like to humbly suggest to the Olympic Committee that they emblazon “Halt Hostilities” on all Olympic signage, symbols and merchandise. Hey, it can’t hurt, and it might even help…

Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne

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