Category Archive 'Olympic Games'
03 Aug 2012

US Taxing Olympic Victories

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Ryan Lochte displays his gold medal.

The Weekly Standard reports that American athletes winning medals at the London Olympics will owe the US Government money.

Americans who win bronze will pay a $2 tax on the medal itself. But the bronze comes with a modest prize—$10,000 as an honorarium for devoting your entire life to being the third best athlete on the planet in your chosen discipline. And the IRS will take $3,500 of that, thank you very much.

There are also prizes that accompany each medal: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.

Silver medalists will owe $5,385. You win a gold? Timothy Geithner will be standing there with his hand out for $8,986. …

[M]ost other Olympians won’t pay any taxes on their medals because America is one of only a handful of countries which taxes “worldwide” prize income earned overseas.

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The Politico reports that at least on Republican wants to give American athletes a break.

[Senator Marco] Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced [on Wednesday] The Olympic Tax Elimination Act, which would exempt U.S. Olympic medal winners from paying taxes on their medals. Olympians receive honorariums in the form of cash payments of $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze, which the IRS currently taxes.

“Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness,” Rubio said in a statement. “Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn’t have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.”

29 Jul 2012

Olympic Gold Medals May Glitter, But…

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Inflation is almost as old as the modern Olympic Games (revived in 1896). Boing Boing informs us that the Olympic Gold Medals we are watching being awarded are only gold-plated, and that Olympic Gold Medals have not really been made of gold since a century ago.

The amount of gold in an Olympic gold medal has fallen to 1.34 percent, thanks to gold prices that recently peaked at $1,895 an ounce. At current prices, a pure 400g medal would cost about $25,000 to make, with a total bill of about $50m for the games.

“The last time the Olympic Games handed out solid gold medals was a hundred years ago at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden,” writes gold brokers Dillon Gage. “Gold medals were in fact only gold for eight years. …

The 2012 gold is 92.5 percent silver, 1.34 percent gold, and 6.16 copper, with IOC rules specifying that it must contain 550 grams of high-quality silver and 6 grams of gold. The resulting medallion is worth about $500. For the silver medal, the gold is replaced with more copper, for a $260 bill of materials.

The bronze medal is 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc and 0.5 percent tin. Valued at about $3, you might be able to trade one for a bag of chips in Olympic park if you skip the fish.

26 Jul 2012

International PC Regime Strikes Again

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Paraskevi Papachristou

Before the Olympics have even officially opened, a member of the Greek Olympic team, triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou (disrespectfully referred to in hostile news accounts by the nickname “Voula”), has been removed from the team for posting a joke on Twitter.

News reports seem to indicate that her membership in an “extreme right-wing” Greek political party [highly prejudiced Wikipedia article] was an additional factor in her expulsion from the team.

The offending tweet read: With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!

The international press, including such relatively conservative British papers as the Telegraph [quoted below] and the Daily Mail, fell into PC-lockstep, describing the young lady’s private joke as “racist” and “offensive.”

[T]he Hellenic Olympic Committee came under pressure from within Greece to take action against 23-year-old Papachristou, who had also publicly supported the Golden Dawn politician Ilias Kasidiaris, when he criticised Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s immigration position.

She had previously retweeted promotional videos from the political party, which gained seven per cent of the vote in the recent Greek elections.

The head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Isidoros Kouvelos, said Papachristou had “showed no respect for the basic Olympian value” in her latest tweet.

“She made a mistake and in life we pay for our mistakes,” he told Skai TV.

Papachristou took to social media sites Facebook and Twitter to apologise for the “unfortunate and tasteless joke”, adding she was sorry and ashamed for the negative responses, especially to her family and coach George Pomaski.

“I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights,” she said.

Papachristou said she dreamt of doing well in London and argued that she respected the Olympic values and apologised to friends and athletes whom she may have insulted.

“My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values,” she said. “Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races.”

Pomaski said the expulsion from the Olympic team was harsh and out of proportion, especially as she had apologised.

This is the way we live now. There is no freedom of speech on social media. We all live under the supervision of an international authority representing the consensus of the elite community of fashion empowered to punish any case of speech or expression it finds objectionable. Europeans additionally can be punished for affiliation with inappropriate political parties. Unelected bodies like Olympic Committees and the NCAA can apply whatever punishments and penalties they like without appeal.

I’m not myself precisely sure just when it was that we were actually subjugated and occupied and lost our freedom of thought and expression as well as our right to due process and democratic institutions, but it certainly has happened, hasn’t it?

20 May 2010

London 2012 Olympic Mascots Are Truly Vile

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Wenlock and Mandeville

The Telegraph reports on the remarkable results achieved by an enormously large committee inspired simultaneously by commercial vulgarity and political correctness.

After 18 months, 40 focus groups and a secret operation worthy of MI5, London 2012 on Wednesday finally revealed the mascots that will help define the capital’s Olympic experience, and just as importantly help pay for it.

The one-eyed figures, called Wenlock and Mandeville, were unveiled at an east London school on Wednesday with organisers hoping they will inspire a generation of children and persuade their parents to contribute the £15 million the mascots are slated to raise in merchandising revenue.

Two parts-Pokemon to one-part lava lamp with yellow ‘Taxi’ lights on their foreheads, the distinctive characters are intended to capture the imagination of children and work as well in the digital world as they will in costume form at trackside in 2012.

Any concern at the appropriateness of the design, which shares a certain abstraction with London’s much criticised logo, should be off-set by the smart choice of names, which resonate with Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic history.

Much Wenlock in Shropshire is considered by many the birthplace of the modern Olympics. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the IOC, visited the town in 1890 and took inspiration from the annual Games organised by Dr William Penny Brookes, a local doctor, to “promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants”.

Stoke Mandeville’s famous spinal injuries unit meanwhile was where the Paralympic movement began, and the naming of one mascot after the hospital is an explicit attempt to raise the profile of the Paralympic Games.

The mascots will soon be ubiquitous, with merchandise going on sale in July to mark two years to the London 2012 opening ceremony.

They are a central part of London’s £70 million merchandising budget, and organisers hope the mascots will contribute up to 20 per cent of that sum through sales of T-shirts, key-rings, tea-towels and the like.

The Cyclops design allows the mascots’ eyes to work as lenses, and digital cameras in the shape of the characters will be available.

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The design has provoked a strong critical reaction.

The organisers of London 2012 were plunged into a fresh row after the new Olympic mascots were branded “patronising rubbish” by design experts. …

Apparently hewn from the “last drops of steel” left over from constructing the final support girder of the Olympic Stadium, the one-eyed creatures are intended to help young people relate to the Games.

But branding experts last night called them “a calamity” and accused Olympic bosses of wasting thousands of pounds on their creation.

Stephen Bayley, the prominent design critic, said: “What is it about these Games which seems to drive the organisers into the embrace of this kind of patronising, cretinous infantilism? Why can’t we have something that makes us sing with pride, instead of these appalling computerised Smurfs for the iPhone generation?

“If the Games are going to be remembered by their art then we can declare them a calamitous failure already.” …

[C]ritics said the design would leave young people baffled. Aaron Shields, a partner at the design agency BrandInstict, said: “I don’t think people are going to relate to these very modern creations. The first rule of mascot creation is to make something familiar and accessible, not something alien. This is just going to be seen as another disappointment coming out of the Olympic games.”

28 Jul 2008

My Kind of Olympics

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Guy and Will have some ideas on how to make the Olympics more interesting.

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