THE BLOG
09/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Olympic-Sized Musings

Remember when the Olympics were truly an amateur event? It seems not that long ago where the idea of a top Olympian returning to the next Olympics was deemed not plausible due to the financial rewards of turning professional. Now that seems a distant memory. Michael Phelps is suggesting he may return for two more Olympics, and why not? He makes millions outside of the pool doing endorsements, appearances (he is now set to host the opening Saturday Night Live this season) and whatever else he likes to do. Why not continue in these "amateur" events while making millions in between? Track stars now do the same, with healthy appearance fees throughout the year while they retain their Olympic eligibility..........

The most dramatic affront to the Olympic ideal has to be the Redeem Team, the latest incarnation of the Dream Team. While thousands of Olympic athletes scrimp and save while training their way to a glimpse of stardom and financial reward, these players have already achieved fame and fortune beyond the dreams of the vast majority of their fellow Olympians. To this writer, these Olympians seem totally out of place alongside their "peer" athletes. Here are some of last season's salaries of a few players on the Redeem Team:

Jason Kidd 21.4M

Kobe Bryant 21.3M

Michael Redd 15.8M

Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh 14.4M

For those seven players alone, that is 116M. That number is, ironically, the 2008 Salary Cap number in the NFL for teams' 53-man rosters, 8-man practice squads and all players on injured reserve. Hardly stuff of the Olympic ideal............

Why did we hear so little about decathlete gold medalist Brian Clay? He seemed like a wonderful story and was an articulate and polished speaker to boot. In past days of Bruce Jenner and Dan Johnson, American decathletes were much-hyped and discussed. We barely heard about this amazing athlete and even after his gold medal, coverage was spotty.....

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics have become very much like the halftime shows at the Super Bowl. Every year - or every four years, as the case may be - the city holding the event tries to "top this" from the prior one. At some point there is a natural desensitization to all the fireworks, elaborate performances, and stars brought out from the past. I totally understand the desire to spare no expense to show the world the best the venue has to offer, but it would seem to me that especially at the Olympics -- that amateur ideal again -- money would be better spent. I believe London is taking this advice in 2012..........

As the Winter Olympics have much fewer events than the Summer Olympics, why wouldn't some of the events in the latter be events for the winter? Does it really matter when indoor events are held? Basketball, boxing, gymnastics, swimming, diving and martial arts are all interesting events that could potentially provide for a nice change-of-pace from skiing and skating in the winter games..........

Did anyone else feel strange and a bit cheapened watching BMX at the Olympics? I am sure it had a following, but I felt like I was watching the X games, not the Olympics. I felt a bit cheap watching it.........

The United States won 110 medals, 36 gold, yet it seems many are not satisfied. I understand the need to always challenge our athletes, but can we not celebrate this bounty of success? Are we taking this "winning at all costs" thing a bit too seriously?