Olympic Games : Your view

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BBC, last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004
Competitors are taking part in the 28th Olympic Games.

On Friday Greek President Konstandinos Stefanopoulos declared the Athens Games open following a spectacular theatrical celebration and procession of athletes.

However, the start of the Olympics has been dogged by controversy with sprinting stars Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou being withdrawn from the Greek team pending an IOC hearing on Wednesday.

The two athletes failed to take a drugs test on Thursday and were then hospitalised after a motorcycle accident.

Will the issue of drugs overshadow the Games? Does the Olympics have a wider role outside the sporting arena? What sports should be included in the Olympics? Are there any sports you think should be banned from the games?

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

When there are a hundred different competitions within certain sports such as swimming (100m this and that, etc)and gymnastics, how come golf isn't an Olympic sport?
Jenny, US

I was a bit surprised that the Venus sisters, Henman etc were performing at the Olympics - I thought this event was for amateurs? What about the unknown athletes from smaller countries who possibly do not get paid for participating - do they stand any chance against these big names?
Jorg, Yeoford, UK

Events like cycling are no longer about who is the fastest cyclist but more about who has the biggest sponsorship, and the best, most aerodynamic bike. Everyone should be given the same standard issue equipment so we can really find out who is the fastest or the best.
Alan, Glasgow, Scotland

To me getting children to take up a sport is the greatest incentive the Olympics bring

Pauline Yates, Suffolk, England

My son (9) looks forward to the Olympics (this is his second that he can remember). So far he wants to Kayak, swim, dive and weightlift for Team GB. He already kayaks and swims and loves going to the gym. To me getting children to take up a sport is the greatest incentive the Olympics bring. And who knows may be the child watching today, getting involved tomorrow, will be a competitor in 2012.
Pauline Yates, Suffolk, England

The Olympics is a brilliant event, it is great to see nations joining together to participate in friendly, peaceful sport. I am disgusted at all the negativity in this debate. For those of you complaining about missing other TV programs, get a life! Or are you permanently confined to your armchairs?
Al, Norwich, UK

Reading all these cynical comments on this forum ranging from complaints about drugs, commercialisation, "selfish" athletes to rantings on "not a sports fan", "have a life" etc makes me appreciate the Olympics even more. Someone needs to tell the people on this forum that the glass is half full regardless of whether you are thirsty or not.
Bob P, Carson City, NV, USA

I spent at least two hours on Saturday night watching the synchronised diving with friends. We checked the scoring rules on the internet and by the end were all arm chair experts, commenting on synchronisation and splash factor. Great fun, and a GB medal at the end!
Katherine, London, UK

Why baseball?

Nick, Tokyo, Japan

Why baseball? Very few countries play and the US doesn't even care enough to send a team.
Nick, Tokyo, Japan

To Nick, Tokyo, Japan: the USA does care enough to send a team. Unfortunately they did not qualify for the olympics because of a loss in preliminary olympic play. Secondly, how could someone from Japan ask, "why baseball?" Baseball is huge in Japan.
Jason, Detroit, USA

Oh how boring, the Olympics is upon us again! I pay my TV licence in the hope that I'll get some good programmes to watch not to be bombarded with sport 24 hours a day!
Chris A, Ashford, UK

I'm certainly, admittedly not the greatest lover of sport, but the Olympics are unique, special. Even more so if the host city provides the viewer, spectator and athlete a good show, and Athens has done just that. We were all holding our breath but can now safely say, well done Athens.
Jack, London

I have gone completely off the Olympics. The games used to be about amateur athletes, who would strive with little or no reward, to compete and if possible win. The taking part was as important as the winning. Nowadays millionaire runners, footballers and tennis players show up just to give their egos a boost. TV adverts, corporate sponsorship, and product endorsements hit is from every side. The Americanisation of the competition following the LA and Atlanta games has corrupted and eroded the Olympic spirit.
Toby, Spain

The opening ceremony was amazing

Ezekiel P, Leicester, UK

The opening ceremony was amazing. I got really excited watching it on TV. I hope these games go as smooth as possible because this is where it all began and it's one of the few times when most of the world get together and compete. However, the biggest challenge I see to the Olympics today is the way sports has become too much of a business: money and greed has had a negative effect on the competitive nature of the Olympics which is part of the reason for these selfish drug cheats.
Ezekiel P, Leicester, UK

I love watching the Olympics and have spent a very lazy weekend doing little else but...my one big problem is the commercial side of the games. I am amazed that people are being told they are not allowed to wear there own choice of clothes, use camcorders/cameras, drink there own water, use certain umbrellas, eat certain types of food unless it is provided by one of the sponsoring companies. This attitude is disgusting and in the heat of Greece people should not be denied water and shade or have to face paying inflated prices to get these items. This attitude is ruining the games and no wonder there are so few tickets sold.
Rob, York, UK

Being of Greek descent the opening ceremony was amazing it was the best I have seen and was intelligent with its symbolism and well staged historical showcase. When I came back here the press was not exactly positive - that is probably why I do not buy papers. The Olympics brings so many different people together and I say good luck to all the athletes.
Will, Newbury

I am amazed at the level of negativity shown on this forum. Just because some sports don't get much coverage apart from the Olympics doesn't mean they aren't interesting to a lot of people. We aren't all exclusively fascinated by football you know. And as for complaining about the amount of coverage, there are thousands of channels out there and the Olympics is only covered by about a dozen of them. If you don't like the Olympics then for goodness sake change the channel, watch something else and stop moaning.
Vik, UK

I love the Olympics. Despite the poor showmanship by a few so far, I am as excited as ever to watch. My only regret is not being able to be there. Our coverage in the US is highly lacking this year in my opinion
Joshua Splinter, USA

With all due respect to the founder Pierre de Coubertin, his successors and our idealistic contemporaries, I find this perennial attempt to mould the Olympics into the premiere catalyst for international understanding as overly naive. With so much national prestige that has been put on the line by participating countries, how can the modern games be filled with any more cross-national camaraderie than the quest for the World Cup? We should simply enjoy the Olympics for what they are; the world's greatest sporting event and its best venue for rewarding individual achievement in sport.
Mike Shanahan, California, USA

Greed and drugs. That sums up the modern Olymics. Gone are the days of the dedicated amateur. No thanks
Roger, UK

Why expect people to devote years and get nothing back

James, Glasgow, UK

Why are people moaning about professional athletes and commercialism? The original events were just that with athletes winning far more than a gold medal. Why expect people to devote years and get nothing back. I am all for the best, not just the best amateurs, competing.
James, Glasgow, UK

The Olympics have become worthless ever since the fall of the Soviet Union.
John, USA

Yes, it is without a doubt, the greatest sports show on earth. A large part of it's appeal is that it showcases sports that would otherwise be ignored. But I'm not convinced that it is such an economic boom, especially in these times of enormous security costs.
Peter, La Marque, Texas

Perhaps the Olympics should return to its earliest ideals. Competitors vie as individuals (cuts down on the jingoism), a return to the "purer" sports (ensures ten-pin bowling and ballroom dancing won't get a look in) and have the athletes compete naked (will fill those empty stadiums).
Ajana, Singapore, ex-UK

I pray that the terrorists don't disrupt it

Peter, La Marque, Texas, USA

The modern Olympics are supposed to be an international event of cooperation, a coming together so to speak, and I pray that the terrorists don't disrupt it as they did at the Olympics in 1972.
Peter, La Marque, Texas, USA

I have just booked 10 days in Athens for my family and I during the Olympics and am thoroughly looking forward to it. We are planning to see cycling, rowing, hockey, athletics amongst other sports and I am sure my children will remember it for the rest of their lives.
Simon, Berks, UK

We should not be looking forward, but praying and holding our breaths that this is not used as another staging ground for terrorist attacks.
Prashanth Parameswaran, Malaysia

I have read through the comments below and have to admit that I am astonished by all the negativity. But then again in an obese society with rising illness to due poor lifestyles what more should I expect? I think we need to pay more attention to what we can get out of the Olympics instead of focusing so heavily on the sponsors. If we all exercised more and spent a little care on what we ate, we may as a nation have more energy to get off the couch and understand sport in a greater degree. Besides, it's a celebration - get a life and join in!
GG, Midlands, UK

It would be nice to think that one day some wag would organise an "anti-Olympics". The events would include insincerity, hypocrisy, pomposity, most creative bribe etc etc. That would be worth watching, and it wouldn't cost billions!
Mark, UK

I have been guilty of being cynical about commercialism and drugs in the past. However, watching the opening ceremony with the pride of the athletes so clearly on display, especially from the small countries with only a few competitors to their name brought a tear to my eye. Ultimately this is what the Olympics is all about - a true festival of peace which the world so badly needs at the moment.
Alan, Blackpool, UK

The Games are special

Rachel, Liverpool

I've never been a big fan of the Olympics, but I caught a bit of the opening ceremony just before I went out to celebrate my 20th birthday with my parents, and they told me about watching Zola Budd race during the 1984 LA Olympics whilst waiting for me to be born. The Olympics are one of those things, that's a fantastic event that's always there and everybody remembers. Special things that happened to them during an Olympic games, or where they were when a particular Olympic moment occurred. The Games are special, and will continue to be so unless drugs and politics are allowed to spoil it.
Rachel, Liverpool

What a spectacular show. - the return of the Olympics to their home. People of Greece, be proud of yourselves for what you have shown to the world.
Gobi, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Wish I was able to be glued to the TV during the Games to really get into the spirit of it. A friend and colleague at work has timed it to become a father perfectly. His wife gave birth to a son yesterday - my friend now has the right to 2 weeks paternity leave. Guess what he'll be doing?
Nicky Westerberg, Norrköping, Sweden

One of the times I am proud of being Greek. I have never been so touched before by such an astonishing spectacle which included a bit of everything: history, sport, laser shows, fireworks and many more.
Michalis Petridis, Limassol, Cyprus

What a bunch of cynics! In the past century we've had two world wars, but contrast that to the Olympics, this event where so many countries come together in peace. I'm not a sports fan, but forgive me for feeling there's still something special we should all be proud of here.
Tony, UK

The Olympic Games are great if you like sport. For those of us who don't they bring a feeling of dread as TV schedules are rewritten and this cheap television takes over. There's not much in it for us non-sport fans.
David, Cornwall, UK

A triumph, embracing the history of civilisation

Katharine Bellias, London, UK

Tonight's opening ceremony was a triumph, embracing the history of civilisation and humanity itself. What a splendid time to be Greek! The world applauds you!
Katharine Bellias, London, UK

I have no interest in sport whatsoever. However, even I have to admit that the opening ceremony of Athens 2004 was viewing for all. Surely a worldwide audience of four billion people can't be wrong?
Michael Wilkinson, Westhoughton, UK

A great event, a beautiful show and an inspiration for people of all nations to give their best in a fair competition. A few drug cases do not affect in any way the importance of the Games.
Bukowsky, Santiago, Chile

Olympics? No thanks! I've got a life.
Graham, UK

I've just seen the opening ceremony and have been captivated by the atmosphere. To all those cynics out there: come on, it only happens once every four years and almost every nation on our warring planet was represented and stood side by side in the name of sport. That must say something. Long live the Olympics!
David, Colchester, UK

The Olympics have the potential of being a universal celebration

Amina Parasados, Nicosia, Cyprus

Corruption, doping, commercialisation, complaints, complaints. An event is what we make it to be and the Olympics have the potential of being a universal celebration, a festival of peace and civilization. Lighten up and enjoy! I am going to be there and do my part in making this event be how I want it to be. Besides, Athens is a beautiful city and let's face it, the Greeks are sooooo cool!
Amina Parasados, Nicosia, Cyprus

Too many drug cheats, too much mindless nationalism, too much hype, too many joke sports, far too much money spent but most of all too boring.
Rog, Sydney, Oz

Bring it on! The Olympics are by far the biggest multi/cross-cultural sports event - bar none. Like it or not, watch it or not it always has been and always will be a sporting spectacle of team and individual excellence that has no cultural barriers whatsoever.
D Green, Cambridge, UK

What a complete and utter waste of time, money and effort all this is. If all those involved actually did something productive instead, we could make the world a better place by far.
Harry, Brisbane, Australia

With life being so tough these days, every day's an Olympic challenge. Waking up is a hurdle, getting to the weekend is a long jump, rushing on your lunch breaks at work is a 100 meter dash and getting paid is the gold medal.
Farhan, Manchester

Are all of you who whinge about the 'commercialisation' prepared to dig into your pockets and pay for your country's competitors to attend? No, I didn't think so! I love the Olympics. I don't notice the adverts; I'm not looking for them! It's a shame about the drug taking but that's life. As for politics - what about the Olympics held in 1936 - political grandstanding is nothing new. Just enjoy the events and ignore the rest!
Bridget, Cambridge, England

I believe that there is an optimum level of funding for sporting events. Beyond that point any sport is subject to a business decision process and therefore driven by revenue and profit as oppose to the core values that were once associated with the Olympic dream.
David Lewis, Tokyo

It's about time we all understood and appreciated the efforts Greece has made in organising something so great

T. Nilsson, Lund, Sweden

As a Greek, living abroad, I think it's about time we all understood and appreciated the efforts Greece has made in organising something so great. I only wish the foreign press and especially the British one would stop grumbling about the Games. They did exactly the same thing when the Euro 2004 football championship was won by the Greeks! Isn't it about time some people abandoned this ...old fashioned nationalistic spirit and started embracing other nations' efforts in trying to do something positive, for a change? Hopefully the Greek Olympic games will give everyone this opportunity!
T. Nilsson, Lund, Sweden

The thing I look forward to most is a performance similar to Eric the Eel in Sydney. I have never cheered so hard as when Eric finished his 100m for the first time and I think it is performances like these that make the Olympics great. Not world records.
Daniel, Brisbane AUS

Of course I am, I'm going! I wanted to go to the Sydney Olympics but couldn't afford it and so am taking the chance to see the world's greatest sporting event in the country of its origin. It's very satisfying and enjoyable to see athletics and other events being performed at the highest ability. To all those grumbling and whinging about the games, I think we should appreciate it as an opportunity to see young people pushing themselves to be the best they possibly can rather than the usual doom and gloom stories about juvenile delinquency.
Kate, UK

The sooner the BBC sets up a dedicated sports channel and gets this junk off our screens the happier I will be. It's not just four weeks of the Olympics, it's the endless daily diet of overblown egos claiming to be sportsmen I can't abide. Consign them all to their own little corner of the spectrum and let the rest of us get on with life.
John R Smith, UK

It is a wonderful world event, and is a testament to what human brotherhood can be about


I am excited to see Athens. It looks beautiful there. I also love to watch the athletes from all over the world coming together in the spirit of athletic competition. It does not matter to me who wins or loses. I like the personal stories about the athletes overcoming the odds to just be there. It is a wonderful world event, and is a testament to what human brotherhood can be about.

Not looking forward to the Olympics at all. It will dominate the television schedules to the detriment of everything else, to show us people playing pointless games for their own amusement and unfortunately much personal gain in many cases. I have no objection to people running round in circles to amuse themselves, but it is as interesting as watching someone play patience.
JamesStGeorge, London England

The Olympics is the greatest sports spectacle in the World, but unfortunately, many of the competitions have little sporting significance. This ought to be a good opportunity for sports fans to catch a glimpse at sporting competitions that rarely are granted television time. Alas, most of the television coverage will be focused on gymnastics and swimming, the sports that are the proven ratings draw. I doubt that more than 10 seconds of the archery competitions will be shown.
David, Milwaukee, WI, USA

The Olympic spirit has long been drowned in the sea of commercial interests and professional sport

Shane, Rushden, UK

The Greatest Bore on Earth. Sports that get no coverage in four years are suddenly Britain's best hope of a medal. Public interest in these events is minimal & yet we will be swamped with coverage so that the corporate sponsors get their expensive message across to the maximum number of viewers. The Olympic spirit has long been drowned in the sea of commercial interests and professional sport.
Shane, Rushden, UK

I find the current Olympics very boring, watching a load of people running around and trying to evade the doping tests, very mind-numbing. Can't wait for the future 'gene-therapy Olympics', watching four legged runners, rubber like gymnasts, and not forgetting the 10 foot 'hulk' weight lifters, very exciting! After all, if this cheating continues the next step will be the altering of athlete's genes which is almost undetectable, if you ignore the extra limbs and even bigger muscles.
Dean, UK

Another boring sports event. It's been either football, tennis or golf and entertaining programmes have been put off the air. Never mind a good chance to get caught up with my books. Much more interesting.
M Grant, Aberdeen

I am looking forward to seeing all nations come together peacefully

Manuel Verge, Toronto, Canada

I am looking forward to seeing all nations come together peacefully. If the Olympics is what it takes to make that happen then it is worth every cent. I would rather see billions of dollars spent on a positive legacy than spent on war fighting each other.
Manuel Verge, Toronto, Canada

The actual sports are fine. What I cannot stand are the endless hours of 'comments' from so-called experts, many of whom cannot string a coherent sentence together.
Linda, UK

No, it has become too commercialised.
Andy, Canada

A definite no. Most of the events are predictable and boring. Personally I prefer to watch the winter Olympics as they tend to be far more exciting
Stephen, Cardiff

Yes because I want to see the US basketball team trounced. Since when do professionals represent the amateur Olympic ideal?
Charles, Montreal, Canada

I have this funny feeling something big is going to happen. There are too many geopolitical events culminating across the Mediterranean and elsewhere for this event to go on unscathed.
Kevin Baca, California, USA

The Olympics have become so commercialized, allowing professional athletes to compete, the almighty dollar destroys all. The coverage in the US is very biased towards all American athletes instead of being able to see the best world wide and the coverage is time delayed and edited, therefore losing its effect. European coverage is wonderful.
Lawrence, Lake Forest, California , USA

No I won't watch!

Paul, Florida, USA

No I won't watch! Not interested because it has become too commercialized and too much corruption from the top all the way down to the participants. High school runners have more credibility than the semi-pros.
Paul, Florida, USA

Nothing is like your home. The Olympics has returned in home.
Ervis Dupis, Athens, Greece

The closing ceremony always comes as a relief.
Andrew, London

Not really. The best bit of athletics was the breaking of the 4 minute mile by Roger Bannister. It's been celebrity sham ever since!
bob, Hampshire

I will definitely watch almost all the sporting events that will be shown on TV. This will be the only time in about 4 years that much prominence shall be given to the lesser known sports in my part of the world. I just can not wait.
Anaman Ekow Stephen, Accra, Ghana

I won't be watching the Olympics, as it's not the best athletes who win but those with the best chemists.
Peter Chrismas, Buxted, East Sussex

To me ever since I was young boy the Olympics have always signified strength, determination and the ability to achieve dreams. Each and every athlete competing has sacrificed much in their lives. We as spectators at least owe it to them to support their efforts whether they win or lose. Televising the Olympics is important for the up and coming athletes who have similar dreams. I wish all athletes success and hope that this is the best Olympics yet.
Iain King, Edinburgh, Scotland

I have no interest in the Olympics this year. In fact, I dread them. I suspect that while so much attention is paid to security at the Olympics, the terrorists will look to attack elsewhere, where it might be easier.
Julie, Chagrin Falls, OH USA

Yes, I'll be glued to the Olympics, as I have been for every one since Mexico City. I'm looking forward to the drama and learning about new heroes who are currently unknown. I'd like to see the Olympics expand both in duration and in the number of sports presented, but would drop stage managed events such as the opening and closing ceremonies, and would prefer to see the Olympics given to a country than a city.

To all those who say that certain sports have no place in the Olympics, I would say that those competitors have trained as hard for their events as the bigger names in athletics and swimming have done, and they deserve their chance in the limelight.
John, Maghull, England

I look forward to the 30th of August, when all this mess will be over and life will finally come back to normal in Greece. People just can't stand it anymore: money wasted, corruption rampant, tourism at its historical low and, on top of that, full of police and military around town!
Oscar Lima, Athens, Greece

For me, the Olympics (and athletics as a whole) have been undermined by the various doping scandals. You now see an athlete break a World or Olympic Record and, instead of marvelling at his or her achievement, wonder if they'd taken something performance enhancing instead.
Faith, Southampton, England

I am excited about the prospect of the Games taking place in the country they originated. I recently visited Athens and felt the great excitement of the Greek people and saw the momentous effort they have made in organising these events. I only wished that the UK press would stop slugging other countries off and do what they do best: put pressure on our government to build facilities half as good in the same timescales so our country can also benefit.
Chris Lecatsas, London, UK

I am personally looking forward to the Olympics, and just as a side note, I am amazed at the cynicism I see on this forum. Life is short, we need to enjoy everything while we can, and if you do not like something, don't comment on it!
Jenna, Austin, Texas, USA

It's about the only exposure for many of the so-called "minority" sports

Nigel Cubbage, Redhill, Surrey

Of course - the greatest show on earth, despite corporate America's attempt to hijack it in 1996. It's about the only exposure for many of the so-called "minority" sports, which usually prove to be the most compelling and captivating of the lot.
Nigel Cubbage, Redhill, Surrey

I'll be watching the Olympic Games because I'm a big fan of sports in general. If only the men in the world had the same Olympic spirit! We would be much happier, then.
Maria Conceição Stigliani, São Paulo-Brazil

I have no pleasure in watching a 7$bn game when 1$bn is sufficient to end the hunger in the world.
Abou Ihad, Tangier, Morocco

I think I would find it more enjoyable if every athlete that comes first, second or third were actually tested for drugs before declaring them the winners. We have already been told to be suspicious of anyone that sets a new world record.
Naomi Spenton, Melbourne, Australia

The popcorn has been bought, the soft drinks are in the fridge, the neighbours have been advised in regard to the noise. The sofa has been cleaned (at last) so bring on the games as we lazy couch potatoes get ready for two weeks of action packed fun so each person around the globe can cheer his/her own country's athlete.
Jeremy Bernstein, Kafar Saba, Israel

I love the Olympics, and I am an avid softball player who is desperate to watch the softball and baseball games, as I do not have access to American TV channels. I have never seen a televised game of either sport played at this sort of level, and it will be fascinating. But the BBC isn't broadcasting any of the softball of baseball, meaning I will not see any of this 'minority' sport which I love so much. Thanks a bunch.
Allison Fraser, Portsmouth, England

In the UK at least TV schedulers have totally lost site of the fact that not everyone is interested in wall-to-wall sport coverage

Stuart Dollin, Halifax UK

No I'm not looking forward to the Olympics. The reason? In the UK at least TV schedulers have totally lost site of the fact that not everyone is interested in wall-to-wall sport coverage. Have a look at the proposed BBC coverage elsewhere on this site if you don't believe me. Why is it that we can't have just live coverage of UK competitors and edited highlights of the rest? True sport aficionados can and will pay out for digital or satellite coverage - that's their right!

This may be excusable if this was the only sporting event of the year, but with Euro 2004 (every match shown even if those matches had nothing to do with England), Wimbledon, Golf, and so on, ad nauseam, the Olympics is really the final straw.
Stuart Dollin, Halifax UK

Yes I am looking forward to the Olympics because the athlete's desire to win, against all odds, inspires me. It reminds me of my Christian faith. We run a race for a prize too. The race is our life; the prize is eternal life with God. No man was born a loser. We choose whether to win or lose.
Critical observer, Lagos, Nigeria

The athlete's desire to win, against all odds, inspires me

Critical observer, Lagos, Nigeria

I'm look forward to the Olympics. I am staying in Athens this summer and the games are a great opportunity for festivities and celebration. They are also a chance for nations to meet, compete, discover other countries and make friends from everywhere.
Krystallia, Athens, Greece

I'm looking forward to it immensely. A breath of fresh air to witness real determination, motivation and spirit from humans during a time when other humans are behaving so dreadfully.
Tom Franklin, London, UK

No, because the BBC will cancel Neighbours for the duration....
Hayley Dunaroomup, Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK

I am really looking forward to the Olympics. It will take my mind off the terrible things that are going on in the world, if only for a little while. I do think it is the greatest sports show on Earth.
Hafsa, Missouri, USA

I'll be ignoring the Olympics. Thank god for digital TV and it's sport-free channels. At least this time I won't be subjected to ego-ridden athletes and their 'achievements'.
Christy, Newcastle, UK

It's amazing to see the strength of human spirit

Janis, Tucson, AZ USA

I like to watch the opening ceremonies. The Sydney Olympics marked the first time the Koreans came together under the same flag. It was a wonderful moment. Also, I remember when there was a swimmer from Africa who was miles behind the competition and had heart enough to gut it out and finish his event. Those are the reasons I tune in to the Olympics, not for blind nationalism or arrogance. It's amazing to see the strength of human spirit, and disappointing to read so many posts by those who can't see beyond the commercialism and scandal. Those things are certainly present, but we only perpetrate them by buying into the negative hype. Tune in for just a minute or two. You might regain your faith. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.
Janis, Tucson, AZ USA

At last something more interesting than football...
Julien, UK

What makes the Olympics so special is the golden opportunity they represent for unknown athletes from poor or small nations to shine on global stage. This is their glorious moment to proudly represent their country and it's citizens. No amount of negative behaviour from a corrupt few athletes can ever diminish the significance of Olympics to world-wide audiences and the majority of honest competing athletes.
Bob P, San Diego, CA, USA

The opening ceremony and the closing ceremony will do for me. What goes on in between is just boring.
Andy, Leeds, UK

I think the Olympics are great. This year makes it even better since it is being held in Greece - the home of the Olympics. The Greek people have done a wonderful job with security and preparing for the Olympics. I wish the athletes from all countries good luck and hope they enjoy themselves.
Dennis, St. Louis, MO USA

Send a message to the terrorist elements that the show will go on

Bob P, San Diego, CA, USA

No doubt that the continuing threat of terrorism has certainly put a dampen on the Olympic spirit this year. Precisely because of the existence of such a threat, the world-wide audiences should make the 2004 Summer Olympics a historical viewing success to send a message to the terrorist elements that the world population will not be intimidated by their cowardly actions and the "show will go on". I certainly intend to!
Bob P, San Diego, CA, USA

I have and will continue to boycott the Olympics based on the fact that they will not recognise Squash as an official sport. How then, did synchronised swimming get in?
Ollie, London

I'll be watching the mountain biking and canoeing. But like everything in the world it seems that corporations have an iron grip on the whole competition - I was amazed to read that anyone wearing a logo by anyone other than an official sponsor won't be allowed into the grounds! What kind of message is that to give to young sportspeople? Conform or perish...
Tim, Nottingham, UK

Kamarudin, Malaysia (below) - I'm offended that you claim that only "western" athletes take drugs. Perhaps you missed 18 members of the Chinese swimming team failing drugs tests? Drugs are a global problem, not a western one.
Peter, Nottingham, UK

Despite the corruption, the drugs, the rampant commercialism, and political grandstanding, it's one of the few things in life in which - regardless of race, religion, or politics - the whole world seems to be able to unify to some extent in a positive and uplifting spirit of universal co-operation. Which is what they're supposed to be all about. In the current, morbid, global climate it's what the world definitely needs more of. For that reason alone, I say bring 'em on!
David Kersten, Singapore

For the first time ever I will actually know someone who is competing in them for Great Britain!

Karl Grover, Wokingham, England, UK

I am looking forward to these Olympics because for the first time ever I will actually know someone who is competing in them for Great Britain! He is Simon Mason, the GB hockey goalkeeper, who is my girlfriend's step brother. So I will definitely be watching and cheering on the hockey!!
Karl Grover, Wokingham, England, UK.

Good grief, what a lot of kill joys! It's 'just' sport for sure, but that's no reason to take away from the physical achievements of all of these athletes. At its best, the Olympics can be about supporting your team without being jingoistic and celebrating the fact that all people from all walks of life, from all countries can achieve greatness. Besides that, it's also a great excuse for an enormous party, so stop being so glass half-empty!
Katherine, London, UK

Every Olympics in history has been better than the last, this is the opinion voiced by the IOC president at the end of every Olympics. That is except Atlanta. Is Athens to become the second Olympics to be considered worse than the last? Athletes taking drugs and organisers planning the construction of the venues have attempted to make this so - what a mess!
Anon, Newbury, Berks

Yes! I love the Olympics, especially the gymnastics, diving and swimming. We don't often get the chance to watch these sports on TV, it will make a pleasant change from football and cricket.
Fiona, Dumbarton

Many athletes train day in, day out, with no recognition of their sport

Rebecca, Cambridge, England

Absolutely! The Olympics are a chance to watch people who compete in a sport they love without earning the wages of millionaire footballers. Many athletes train day in, day out, with no recognition of their sport. The Olympics are their chance to show the wider world what they can achieve.
Rebecca, Cambridge, England

I turn to rock n' roll if i want to watch egotistical, drug using, selfish people; so I've no need for the Olympics.
Rico, Sheffield, England

I'm very excited about the Olympics. This year, at least on American TV, they will be able to broadcast every sport. It will be a two week marathon of the world' greatest athletes. How can you not look forward to it?
Tim, Bethesda, MD, USA

I find it funny that people who normally care nothing about sports suddenly get all excited because it's The Olympics -- suddenly you are gripped by shot-put, or synchronised swimming or the triple jump. Why???
Abby O'Neil, Daventry

Definitely looking forward to the opening and closing ceremonies. Hope that's a spectacular event.
Mohammad Mehdi, London

These Olympics are the pinnacles of sport

Scott, Minneapolis, USA

I'm very excited for the Olympics and I won't let pretentious cynicism spoil it for me. Steroid usage is sad, but cheating has always happened in competitive events; ancient Greek wrestling referees carried a whip to deal with biters. I agree that commercialism has diminished the experience for spectators, however, no commercialism, no televised sports. These Olympics are the pinnacles of sport. They are the contests to determine which individuals have the best abilities. FIFA, Basketball, Baseball and even my beloved Football are fun to watch and play, but compared to the Olympics, they're irrelevant.
Scott, Minneapolis, USA

It will just be another big advertisement for companies like Coca Cola and McDonalds. Zzz.
Julie, Newcastle

I always look forward to the Olympic Games. It's the only opportunity I get here in the US to watch something other than football, basketball or baseball...speaking of boring. I want to see real athletes like wrestlers, swimmers, gymnasts and decathletes.
Jim, NJ, USA

I won't be watching the Olympics like I once did. There are now too many additional "sports" none of which are worthy of this once great event. The Olympics used to be all about which man/woman was best...get rid of the pointless sports and the team events and return to the original events and it may be worth watching.
Bill, Manchester, UK

The only thing I look forward to is seeing an amateur athlete from a relatively poor, developing country put one over on the biologically engineered "machines" that western countries seem to enter.
Pete, UK

Sport should bring the world together

Mark, Belgium

Looking at the comments I am so disappointed that even the Olympics are connected with the present US wars and security. I am looking forward to these events to get my mind off these things for just a short period. Sport should bring the world together and should be not involved in politics.
Mark, Belgium

To tell the truth, I completely forgot this was an Olympic year. Shows you how high up they are on my agenda!
Ryan, New Orleans, USA

The Olympics are just like any other sporting event - blown way out of proportion. They are just as relevant in today's society as video games. People play, have fun, and that's it. They mean nothing else.
Joseph Wojciechowski, New Jersey, USA

I'm afraid I find 90% of events extremely boring and see the Games as quite overrated and a waste of money.
Craig, Glasgow

No! Many people around here where I am do not care about the Olympics. I don't care either. We are just watching our baseball, soon football, and all soccer. I can't wait until the FIFA World Cup 2006.
Ishmail, Boston, USA

It is no more the greatest sports show on earth because practically all the western athletes are cheating by taking illegal drugs which are difficult to detect in order to boost their physical strength. They are more concerned about monetary gain after the games are over in order to take advantage of the lucrative sponsorship waiting for them from big sporting corporations.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

The Olympics used to be about dedicated athletes, doing their best. Its now all about big ego's, cheating, and its whole structure is corrupt. What a complete waste of time and money.
Mark H, UK

It's a big party and everybody is invited

Mike Proust, Amsterdam , Netherlands

Yes of course! It's a big party and everybody is invited! I'll be watching as much as I can! The main challenges facing the Olympics are: preventing global companies taking over and keeping steroids out (or perhaps allowing them).
Mike Proust, Amsterdam , Netherlands

Not really. It is such a corporate power fest that it does leave me feeling a little numb. The whole Olympic movement is like some Bond movie villainous empire. Its about money, power & politics. I would like to thank the BBC for its recent documentary which scratched at the surface of what we all know about the Olympics.
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick England

As a Greek living in the States, I'm extremely proud the Olympics are being held back in the motherland. I've no doubt it will be an incredible historic event and am grateful I can be a part of it.
Tina Ruiz, Alexandria, US

It is the only major sporting event that the USA actually competes with the rest of the World. Why don't they take the World's sport 'Soccer' more seriously?
Anon, Newbury, Berks

Why do people invest so much attention and emotion in the athletic achievements of others? Win or lose, those athletic efforts have nothing to do with you - you are just sitting on your backside. I prefer to pursue my own achievements rather than passively watch others become champions.
Matt, Boston, US

It clears any marginally interesting programmes off and replaces them with 5 channels of people saying the same thing

Stephen Mortimer, Reading, UK

To be honest I couldn't care less. I have had it up to the neck with sports coverage on the television. It clears any marginally interesting programmes off and replaces them with 5 channels of people saying the same thing. Tedious.
Stephen Mortimer, Reading, UK

I am very much looking forward to the Olympics, however I am not looking forward to the nationalistic jingoism that always comes along with it. The people who win are individuals who, if asked, will tell you that they run for themselves and not for any sense of national ride, and yet we insist on counting medals 'won' by various countries, play national anthems etc.
Kate Corwyn,

No, not at all. I have every expectation that the US team will be greeted with derision from America/Bush hating Europe, especially in Greece. What Europeans think of us sure doesn't keep me up at night, but I appreciate it's hard for athletes to compete in such an environment. I hope to be proven wrong.
Peter C. Kohler, Washington DC USA

I have absolutely no interest in the Olympics. Once the idea of "the amateur" was taken out of the picture, the Olympics lost some of there zeal. Added that a country's boundaries no longer stop athletes from participation in professional sports all over the world - the Olympics seem boring. In the old days when the Olympics were the only time you could see athletes from the Communist bloc - there was intrigue, it's just not there anymore.
Mike Daly, Miami, Fl - USA

Be gracious hosts to all the competitors, please

Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

I am looking forward to watching the Games, but having lived in Greece for a year, I'm aware if the Greeks' political nature. I am worried they will react childishly and with poor sportsmanship to athletes from certain countries, especially the USA. I hope they keep in mind American athletes do not create US foreign policy and are there to enjoy the experience. Be gracious hosts to all the competitors, please.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

Yes I cant wait to see the Olympics! I am sure that it will be free of terrorism because the Greek government has done a wonderful job getting this monumental task on track. I think we have more to worry about drug use with athletes then we have to about Osama. Lets remember the Munich and Atlanta games but lets no dwell on them.
Bryan , Providence, USA

A definite no! A resolution helped by not being a couch potato and not having a television. Remember when people talked to each other and played sport, not stayed indoors watching it?
Michael Scott, London

All it takes is having the most inventive biochemists who can beat the testing

Mark, USA

Another ode to steroids. It used to take professional athletes disguised as amateurs to win. Now all it takes is having the most inventive biochemists who can beat the testing.
Mark, USA

I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics and viewed them as the greatest sporting event. I was a volunteer during the 1984 Games in LA and thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from around the world. Politics and medal results aside, it's the international gathering of people for competition and peace is what the makes the Olympic games such a success for humanity.
John, Los Angeles, California

I will watch gymnastics and that's about it. I find the winter games much more exciting.
Jaime, Overland Park, KS USA

I do look forward to the Olympic Games it is the one time the world comes together in a friendly competition. I wish all the athletes good luck on their personal quest and a special good luck to the USA team and to the Iraq team for a change they can compete without fear of what may happen if they don't perform to a certain level, I hope they enjoy themselves for a change.
John Crane, Houston Texas, USA

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