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Should teams compete in Olympics?

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I was thinking about this for some reason yesterday. I think it was because I was discussing the Dream Team with someone, and we were laughing that Christian Laettner was on the roster.

Should team sports really be in the olympics? It seems like every team sport has it's own "world championship", and that the olympics are really more about finding out who is the best in the world at whatever thing they compete in.

To me, it seems like track, swimming, maybe weight lifting, are really more in line with what the games are all about. With team sports, you really don't necessarily have the 10 or 20 or however many "best" players for each country, since if the 5 best baseball players in the country all happen to be third basemen, 3 will probably be left off the team for less deserving people. Also, you have the issue with countries not sending their best players, like the US when baseball was a sport. It really takes away from the spirit of the games.

With swimming, you know at the end of the race who the best is. I don't really think that a team tournament really tells you much, nor is it really good because since the players don't practice together for very long, they're not really a "team", so much as a collection of all-stars putting on a show.

I'm fine with relay races, as long as each member of the team is really there to compete in an individual contest.

Discuss.

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I understand the logic of what you're saying. But this ignores two things. First that many of these team sports don't have any exposure or championships on the level of their Olympic medals. Sports like Field Hockey, Indoor Volleyball, Water Polo, etc... that aren't really as big anywhere else as they are at the Olympics. For things like soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey your argument is far more sound and in many ways I agree with it given the multitude of talent that is left sitting at home because positions are so limited on the Olympic team.

The second reason however that it's not a good idea, is the teams sports are so damn popular at the Olympics. Hockey for instance in the winter is one of the most popular things for people to come watch, same with soccer and basketball in the summer. Take those away and I think you'd find the interest in the games as a whole would wan significantly.

I think the better argument is to get rid of many of the individual "sports" that are not really sports at all. Things like diving, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, ice skating, etc... Anything that requires a panel of never impartial judges to render subjective scores. These aren't sports, they're nothing but athletic exhibitions.

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

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For some team sports, the Olympics is as big as it gets. I'm thinking of things like handball and water polo. Field Hockey has a world cup, but the Olympicsis still Abigail thing. And you can't really say the Olympic tennis event is the biggest thing in tennis. So the argument that only sports for which the Olympics is the bigget thing should be in the Olympics has some merit, but it's not as easy as team or solo sports.

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I understand the logic of what you're saying. But this ignores two things. First that many of these team sports don't have any exposure or championships on the level of their Olympic medals. Sports like Field Hockey, Indoor Volleyball, Water Polo, etc... that aren't really as big anywhere else as they are at the Olympics. For things like soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey your argument is far more sound and in many ways I agree with it given the multitude of talent that is left sitting at home because positions are so limited on the Olympic team.

The second reason however that it's not a good idea, is the teams sports are so damn popular at the Olympics. Hockey for instance in the winter is one of the most popular things for people to come watch, same with soccer and basketball in the summer. Take those away and I think you'd find the interest in the games as a whole would wan significantly.

I think the better argument is to get rid of many of the individual "sports" that are not really sports at all. Things like diving, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, ice skating, etc... Anything that requires a panel of never impartial judges to render subjective scores. These aren't sports, they're nothing but athletic exhibitions.

I guarantee that the loss of gymnastics or figure skating would pull more people away than would pulling basketball or hockey.

That said, I generally agree with your premise about volleyball, water polo, etc. This is a great time for atheletes/teams in those sports to shine and have unforgettable moments; and I don't know that I'd pull the few "popular anyway" sports (hockey, basketball, soccer) since I'd rather leave the water polos in.

As for the "scoring" sports, there is no doubt a lot of politics. And even without that, they are quite subjective. It must be a tough pill to swallow to have an olympic dream crushed by a questionable judgement. And many of these athletes are just that, outstanding athletes; gymnastics and figure skating come to mind. So I don't really want to see those go. Not that they would; figure skating is the crown jewel of the Winter Games.

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Hockey and basketball's respective world championships aren't played using the best possible players - keep them in the Olympics.

Soccer, though? Can it. Nobody really cares.

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

My point exactly. The exposure, coverage, pageantry, history, and overall hugeness of the Olympics is what causes a lot of the team sports in it to use it as their de facto world cup, or have their designated world cup be overshadowed by it.

For example, The NHL takes a break off for the Olympics since it's typically around when the All-Star break is, so it's like an international All-Star Game, but with real stakes, every four years. As opposed to the IIHF World Cup which happens every year during the NHL playoffs, so that keeps a lot of guys from participating on top of the guys who just plain sit it out. Plus, it's the two weeks that the USA cares the most about hockey, so the NHL should (in theory) benefit from that.

As for Olympic soccer, I'd be okay with seeing it gone. Like Crash said, apart from countries in it that might not normally qualify for the world cup, nobody cares. The real prize is the World Cup.

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

I disagree. For basketball especially. Winning a gold medal is a nice accomplishment, but NBA championships are FAR more important to players and fans. When you talk about Lebron, for example, he's not judged by the Olympic medals he's won (he already has a bronze and gold medal, BTW), it's about how many league championships he has.

Now if you're talking about international tournaments other than the Olympics rather than league titles, then that's another thing, and you're probably right.

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I wouldn't be too sad to see basketball or soccer go in its current format. Honestly, I'd like it more if the NBA just sent its champion to compete in the olympics. All of the Heat's players are American, but the IOC already lets athletes compete for countries other than those of their origin, so give them a choice if that situation ever comes up.

The only thing really stopping me from advocating this 100% is the Toronto Raptors... would they get to represent the US since most of their players are American? Should they represent Canada every year? Would a combination of not being allowed to represent the US and Canada continuing to send a national team give them a de facto ban from ever appearing in the Olympics?

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I wouldn't be too sad to see basketball or soccer go in its current format. Honestly, I'd like it more if the NBA just sent its champion to compete in the olympics. All of the Heat's players are American, but the IOC already lets athletes compete for countries other than those of their origin, so give them a choice if that situation ever comes up.

The only thing really stopping me from advocating this 100% is the Toronto Raptors... would they get to represent the US since most of their players are American? Should they represent Canada every year? Would a combination of not being allowed to represent the US and Canada continuing to send a national team give them a de facto ban from ever appearing in the Olympics?

Well if all the players are American, I don't see why they would even be considered to represent Canada. :therock:

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

I disagree. For basketball especially. Winning a gold medal is a nice accomplishment, but NBA championships are FAR more important to players and fans. When you talk about Lebron, for example, he's not judged by the Olympic medals he's won (he already has a bronze and gold medal, BTW), it's about how many league championships he has.

Now if you're talking about international tournaments other than the Olympics rather than league titles, then that's another thing, and you're probably right.

Oh I agree to an individual, team championships are a bigger deal for sure. Olympics even aren't as big of a deal as the NBA to them. But I mean to the international teams themselves. Winning an olympic gold for USA is a bigger deal than winning the FIBA championship.

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

I disagree. For basketball especially. Winning a gold medal is a nice accomplishment, but NBA championships are FAR more important to players and fans. When you talk about Lebron, for example, he's not judged by the Olympic medals he's won (he already has a bronze and gold medal, BTW), it's about how many league championships he has.

Now if you're talking about international tournaments other than the Olympics rather than league titles, then that's another thing, and you're probably right.

That may be true in the U.S., but I wonder if German fans and players would rather see Dirk Nowitzki win an Olympic gold medal instead of an NBA championship? (Substitute country, player, and NBA team of your choice in the previous example)...

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Just as a viewer I gotta say I have alot more interest in watching the handball, rowing and swimming then I do basketball or tennis. But that's because I can already see guys like Roger Federer and LeBron James anytime I want. I find swimming and handball to be very entertaining to watch, but this is pretty much the only time where it gets mainstream exposure. So to me it makes it that much more important to watch it, because there isn't going to be another game next week or another major in two months.

Does that necessarily mean that these sports shouldn't be included in the Olympics, I don't know. Personally there's not much I would change in terms of the current Olympic sports. The criteria I judge sports being included in the games are how accessible are they to the general population, how much athleticism does it take to do them and how popular the sport is worldwide. I don't think if you took out either soccer or basketball you could find a sport where you could say were better off doing this as opposed to keeping basketball or soccer under that criteria, even though the Olympics are clearly not the pinnacle of either sport. I still think a place can be found for them and I would say has in terms of their importance that is still acceptable to be in the Olympics given the talent level and the effort that you still see displayed.

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I have read all of your responses, and have concluded that the Olympics should be about determining who specifically is the very best at something that can be measured objectively. Therefore, tennis is in, gymnastics is out, and team sports like basketball are out. If they want to make a three-point contest an Olympic sport, then that's fine. It'd be dumb, but OK because it'll determine who is the best three-point shooter in the world. IMO team sports don't really tell you anything, and should be no more than exhibitions.

My decision is final. This thread is over.

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

I disagree. For basketball especially. Winning a gold medal is a nice accomplishment, but NBA championships are FAR more important to players and fans. When you talk about Lebron, for example, he's not judged by the Olympic medals he's won (he already has a bronze and gold medal, BTW), it's about how many league championships he has.

Now if you're talking about international tournaments other than the Olympics rather than league titles, then that's another thing, and you're probably right.

That may be true in the U.S., but I wonder if German fans and players would rather see Dirk Nowitzki win an Olympic gold medal instead of an NBA championship? (Substitute country, player, and NBA team of your choice in the previous example)...

Well, FWIW, I was in Europe last summer about a month after Dallas won the NBA Finals and it was an enormous deal. There were TONS of magazines in French, German, and Italian that had Dirk's picture on the cover.

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

I disagree. For basketball especially. Winning a gold medal is a nice accomplishment, but NBA championships are FAR more important to players and fans. When you talk about Lebron, for example, he's not judged by the Olympic medals he's won (he already has a bronze and gold medal, BTW), it's about how many league championships he has.

Now if you're talking about international tournaments other than the Olympics rather than league titles, then that's another thing, and you're probably right.

That may be true in the U.S., but I wonder if German fans and players would rather see Dirk Nowitzki win an Olympic gold medal instead of an NBA championship? (Substitute country, player, and NBA team of your choice in the previous example)...

Well, FWIW, I was in Europe last summer about a month after Dallas won the NBA Finals and it was an enormous deal. There were TONS of magazines in French, German, and Italian that had Dirk's picture on the cover.

Oh I'm sure it was a big deal, but would it be an even bigger deal if he won a gold medal? We may never know...

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I think to your average person, most World Championships (outside of Soccer) are second to the Olympics. I think the countries themselves take them seriously somewhat, but winning the World Championship in basketball is not as big of a deal as olympic gold.

I disagree. For basketball especially. Winning a gold medal is a nice accomplishment, but NBA championships are FAR more important to players and fans. When you talk about Lebron, for example, he's not judged by the Olympic medals he's won (he already has a bronze and gold medal, BTW), it's about how many league championships he has.

Now if you're talking about international tournaments other than the Olympics rather than league titles, then that's another thing, and you're probably right.

That may be true in the U.S., but I wonder if German fans and players would rather see Dirk Nowitzki win an Olympic gold medal instead of an NBA championship? (Substitute country, player, and NBA team of your choice in the previous example)...

Well, FWIW, I was in Europe last summer about a month after Dallas won the NBA Finals and it was an enormous deal. There were TONS of magazines in French, German, and Italian that had Dirk's picture on the cover.

Oh I'm sure it was a big deal, but would it be an even bigger deal if he won a gold medal? We may never know...

I don't think it would. Basketball just doesn't have the appeal of International competition the way soccer and hockey do. Your also just not going to find many NBA quality players playing outside of the NBA, so winning an NBA title is the unquestioned pinnacle of the sport. Maybe some casual people don't look at it that way, but I think most of your hardcore fans know that.

That's not to say beating the US wouldn't be a big deal. It would be, but I wouldn't expect any type of earth shattering change in the importance of International basketball. The Euro is just not even close to being up to par with the NBA and I don't see that changing over the next decade. Beyond that who knows. The NBA may expand to Europe or establish some type of parnership with the Euroleague to help their bulster their competition. But as it now and will be for quite some time the US is just by far and away the dominant basketball force in the world.

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Is Andre Iguadala one of the 12 best American basketball players in the NBA?

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I always believed that the US has a basketball identity crisis ever since the first iteration of the Dream Team due to the fact that we must send NBA stars to the Olympics in order to "win the gold at all costs". However, I was happy and relieved when the 2004 Summer Olympics happened.

Therefore, the collection of stars who compete in the basketball and hockey competitions at the Olympics have substantially diluted the essence and spirit of the games. They have made it less enjoyable to watch when the "team effort" is not what it used to be.

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I have read all of your responses, and have concluded that the Olympics should be about determining who specifically is the very best at something that can be measured objectively. Therefore, tennis is in, gymnastics is out, and team sports like basketball are out. If they want to make a three-point contest an Olympic sport, then that's fine. It'd be dumb, but OK because it'll determine who is the best three-point shooter in the world. IMO team sports don't really tell you anything, and should be no more than exhibitions.

My decision is final. This thread is over.

I disagree. Each sport's individual world championship is what that's for. I don't think the main goal of the Olympic games has ever been to find the best individual in certain events, though that is part of it. I think the spirit of the Olympics is that the world comes together to compete in athletic activities that are participated in around the globe. Team sports are played all over the world, why shouldn't they be included? Athletes that play team sports train just as hard as those who compete in individual sports. Why shouldn't they be included?

Also, who cares if Andre Iguadala isn't one of the 12 best American basketball players? There's American swimmers and runners who didn't qualify for the US team, but they would probably be the best swimmer or runner if they were from a smaller country. That's just how it works.

edit: Gymnastics has individual medals, why would you eliminate Gymnastics?

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