When I was a kid I had quasi Olympic aspirations. I say quasi because those aspirations really only came about every four years along with those very same Olympics that inspired me. I don’t think this make me too uncommon though. During the World Series I became more interested in my little league play, the Super Bowl made me, and countless other kids, imagine leading their team on a late fourth quarter touchdown drive that would bring home the Lombardi Trophy – even though I never played a single down of organized football. Hell, I even remember watch Wimbledon when I was in middle school and thinking how cool it would be to be a tennis star; trust me my tennis game wouldn’t get me on anything but “America’s Funniest Videos,” so Federer has nothing to worry about.
That is me though, and like I said I am not alone in those childhood fantasies. There are countless other children right now who are doing very similar things as they watch the Olympics. While most of these kids will end up like me, not Olympic material, there will be a select few who will follow through with their Olympic dreams and actually become America’s next Olympic athletes, and we will all be very proud of them as they compete with the best that the world has to offer. They will also inspire yet another generation of kids to go for the gold.
That is the nature of competition, to go for the gold. To do that requires countless hours of selfless sacrifice, a healthy level of support from friends, and family, as well as someone to provide just enough of a push, without being overbearing. I believe that is true in all sports, not just Olympic sports. In order to win, you have to be driven to win. The thing about the Olympics though is that it is guised as a venue for amateur athletics to shine. While I think we all can agree that the Olympics “amateurism” is far from what that term used to mean, I think we can also agree that the vast majority of sports in either the summer or the winter games are not exactly what one would call revenue sports. There really isn’t a MLB of swimming, track and field, gymnastics, and the list goes on and on. The stars of those sports can make millions in endorsements, but the rest surely don’t do so well.
Regardless of the relative lack of income an Olympian can earn while they are making that selfless sacrifice, with the hopes of one day representing America in the Olympics, Uncle Sam apparently wants to share in the celebrations of those athletes who are fortunate enough to win an Olympic medal. Under the current tax laws in this country our Olympic heroes will not only be greeted by proud America populace, but they will be met with Uncle Sam’s greedy hand out. He will want to collect the taxes due from those medal winners, and to do that our Olympians will have to calculate the value of their medals, as well as the relatively small cash award too, and add that to their already small taxable incomes.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our Olympians’ efforts to make not only them and their families proud, but to make the nation proud too, means that if they should win a medal then they will be sent a tax bill for doing so. From what I understand it didn’t used to be this way. If you won a medal in the Olympics then Uncle Sam only shook your hand in congratulation, now he also picks your pocket too. Isn’t that just swell? Maybe one day he can figure out a way to tax all of our Olympians efforts, because there are many more who don’t win medals than do . . . geez; God help us all.