Friday, August 15, 2008

An upside to the Olympics.

A whole generation has grown up since the fall of the Iron Curtain and missed out on watching spectacles like the KGB having to guard their own athletes to keep them from defecting. It was always very instructive to me as a kid.

Now the Chinese are happily providing plenty of heartwarming stories on what happens when a totalitarian nation decides it needs athletes. "You! Leave the village and come with us. You are a gymnast now!"

8 comments:

Billy Sparks said...

You know I guess that is why I am not surprised that the Chinese are using underage kids and such. I grew up watching a East German female weighlifter with more body hair than some bears win a medal.

Anonymous said...

It would be so much easier to build glorious People's communist pardise if people {little p} not insist on free will.

og said...

I also remember the former union, and the trouble they all went through to try to defect. I imagine there are people alive who remember similar things from prewar germany. do we never learn these lessons?

Cybrludite said...

Og, the only explanation which makes any sense to me about that is the sage bit of wisdom from Agent K. "A person is smart. People are dumb panicky animals, and you know it."

Breda said...

Tam - I found a video that shows that that's pretty much the truth of what China does to those girls. Poor things. (see blog, I'm too lazy to link)

Billy Beck said...

"...spectacles like the KGB having to guard their own athletes to keep them from defecting."

In 1989, I was privileged to run with the Bolshoi Ballet's first repertory tour of America. Eight weeks coast to coast, IIRC. You had to see these people. Almost none of them had ever seen the West before, and they were in a non-stop mall-mode for two straight months, with eyes as big as saucers.

We were on our way east with two days off before El Paso, Texas, when two of the corps dancers disappeared for almost the whole two days. You had to see that panic. The FBI turned up, and we discovered who on the tour was KGB. Everybody got grilled, and then these two kids showed up.

They'd gone off shopping for cowboy boots by themselves and gotten lost in America. It was hilarious and very poignant, but not everyone thought so at the time. There were some really tight jaws behind that scene.

Carl H said...

As I said earlier this week...

KGB - 1
Moose and Squirrel - 0

Ed Foster said...

The entire process seems quite Orwellian. The NBC talk robot said these kids had been confiscated from their families at age 3. Anybody know what kind of test parameters show Olympic prowess at age 36 months?
Or do they just grab 5,000 at random and winnow them down to the 5 or 6 they need?