Column: That time … Dédé the Sardine and the big Olympic fish | Athletics

Dédé the Sardine was a great Olympic fish.

“I’m a master of the universe,” Dédé said a few years before she died in 2016 at the mature age of 97. Dédé was born André Guelfi. His teammates on the International Olympic Committee called him the Sardine, a tribute to his friends who had made a fortune in orchards.

Back on shore, Guelfi was an adviser to the famous sports godfather and CIO president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who in 1980 figured out how to use television and corporate sponsorship to revive the Games. Olympians dying in the prosperous multimedia behemoth now hospitalized and not vaccinated for COVID-19 in Tokyo.

“The CIO are truly masters of the universe,” the sardine swallows. “When we ask for something, something, we get it.”

And they did. The Moroccan-born French businessman and Formula 1 driver has helped the 91-member CIO for decades navigate his storms of scandal, greed and trouble. Like his friend Samaranch, Guelfi was vaccinated with a phonograph needle and didn’t get a shot of what you said about him or his sometimes stinking, always-colored escapes aboard the Olympic salsa train. several billion. The only question was that you spelled their names correctly and the story appeared on the first page, above the fold.

Guelph was more slick than those of us who covered the six Olympics I chronicled in newspaper times. I knew that the report on the carload of charges of global criminal investigations and U.S. Congress hearings on IOC corruption charges, embezzlement, malpractice and scrutiny would have derailed the moment athletes took center stage. .

Sport is the ultimate in glorious distractions. It was Sardina’s calculation – because the 3.2 billion fans who watch the Olympic show on TV always prefer heroes rather than villains. The emotion of victory, the agony of defeat. Everything else makes no sense.

So far.

COVID-19 is perhaps something that an Olympic pageantry villain can’t whitewash. The coronavirus has buried more than 4.5 million in the world, about 15,000 in Japan. Only Tokyo’s carnelian houses are at full capacity. The government has ordered the release of stadiums, silence of spectators and the emptying of corporate hospitality tents. Yet, the “masters of the universe” demanding Japan’s $ 25 billion performance – the most expensive in Olympic history – must continue.

The reason, of course, is money.

The postponement of the 2020 Games until 2021 left them gargling with red ink. The CIO receives almost 75 percent of its revenues from the sale of transmission rights. Estimates suggest it would lose between $ 3bn and $ 4bn if the games were canceled. And it saves a fortune for Japan’s 126 million people, 83 per cent of whom are unvaccinated and paying some $ 19bn of the blocked extravaganza card and with no means to recover more than $ 820m in ticket sales .

“How to prevent people enjoying the Olympics from going to drink is a major issue,” said Japan’s Health Minister Norihisa Tamura. According to the Japanese protocols of the Japanese coronavirus, anyone caught spending a good amount of time faces their arrest and, if they are foreigners, deportation.

The arrival of CIO President Thomas Bach at Narita Airport in Tokyo coincides with the start of a fifth wave of COVID-19 and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announcing a six-week state of emergency due of the growth of cases. Bach was brought in front of anti-Olympic protesters at the generous Okura Hotel for three days of self-quarantine, an in-room menu featuring a $ 40-plus portion of soy milk skin and sea urchins with starchy soy sauce , and a vestibule of educated Japanese administrators will be too shy to formally demand any money in addition to the CIO’s $ 1.3 billion investment in the Tokyo Games.

The discomfort left Bach looking for a great television gesture to divert attention from the COVID-19 casualty count, finally emerging as the favorite to win the 2021 Olympic gold medal in cognitive dissonance for his sprint to Hiroshima. It is here that a 15 kiloton nuclear explosion in 1945 killed more than 135,000 people and triggered the greatest human trauma without transformation before the coronavirus. IOC Vice President John Coates ’pilgrimage to meet Nagasaki’s 64,000 radioactive ghosts is set to raise money.

It doesn’t matter that civic organizations in both cities say the fissionable stunt “dishonors” what is happening in their communities. The outrage was palpable. They sent Bach a petition signed by more than 40,000 people, all asking him to dismiss the events. But the CIO only takes guidance from Mount Olympus, where the modern Muse Otter probably ordered Bach to heed the wisdom he offers another distressed organization of Greek Life in the film Animal House:

“This situation absolutely requires me to make a futile and stupid gesture on the part of someone.”

That’s what the Greek Gods – who inspired the games and who the CIO’s mythologists enthusiastically embrace – have called hubris. It was a crime and the judges of Ancient Greece were not afraid to convict. Sometimes the penalty was left in the hands of a higher authority. “After Hubris,” wrote a Greek poet, “comes Nemesis,” the Goddess of Justice appointed by Zeus to visit Earth in the form of a goose. Neither Cresu was able to buy Nemesis.

But the IOC has a better cash flow than the king of Lydia and Tokyo is just another goose to snatch. The next stage of the fraternity is Beijing 2022, followed by Paris 2024. Once the masters of the universe leave the city, whatever the financial misfortune, the political mayhems or medical calamities left will have no consequences for them, as and was the case in Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Salt Lake City and all other host cities.

Once Sardine joked that the CIO’s interest in changing his behavior rarely went further than ordering something other than a jumbo shrimp cocktail from the room service menu. I suggest you try the $ 30 cup of Okura seaweed infiltrated with vinegar.

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