The global Olympic torch relay should be stopped

I realize I might be in the minority here, but I found myself agreeing with most of Dick Pound's comments today, especially one idea in particular.

The global portion of the torch relay should come to an end.

I do think the relay is well-intentioned and still has a place in the Olympics, but giving the event a worldwide stage just doesn't make sense to me anymore. There are too many problems that can arise when the torch is taken into different parts of the world, especially when some parts of the world don't agree with some of the host country's policies.

The Olympics no longer represent just athletics in my mind. The political undertones for the Games are much stronger than I can ever remember them being. I wish the focus could shift back to the athletes themselves and people could just enjoy the performances that they will be putting on over the next three weeks.

Granted, a lot of the political focus has to do with the fact that the Olympics are being held in China, but no matter where you hold the Games anymore, somebody is going to find a reason to get upset about something. Do you really think that there won't be protests in some other countries during a torch relay before the 2012 Games in London? Or before the 2016 Games if they are held in Chicago?

I'm not saying that the torch relay should be stopped all together. In fact, one of my fondest memories of growing up was watching the torch relay come through my hometown of Orlando, on the way to Atlanta in 1996. I just think the relay should only take place in the host country of that year's Olympic Games. As we've seen in Greece, some people just don't care as much about the Olympics unless they are happening in their home country.

The majority of people I've seen in the news who are excited about the global torch relay are the ones who are looking to make a political statement on a global stage. Eliminating the worldwide reach of this relay might be able to take some of the politics out of the Games and put the focus back on the athletes.

Photo via Getty Images

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