No room for pros at Olympics

Dear editor:
At the very beginning, Olympic sports were for amateurs only and it stayed that way for a very long time until political measures crept into the system allowing professionals to participate, thus making it a mixture of amateurs competing against the pros.
This surely degrades what the Olympics really stand for.
With politics becoming more prominent in the system, the bending of rules becomes a practice which has led to the breaking of rules, which has led to the infractions in the past decade, with the latest occurrence at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
The victims—the Canadian pairs in the figure skating program who performed a solid gold performance but were given the silver medal despite three errors committed by the Russian team, who won the event.
Without a doubt, foul play was involved in the decision, which led to the full-scale investigation which resulted in giving the Canadian couple a cold gold medal.
Although the gold medal was restored, a tarnished award was not what they deserved. Actually, this corrupt action of judge(s) caused a disheartening effect to both teams involved.
Definitely a black eye to the figure skating program.
Athletes competing in the Olympics put in many long hours of gruelling training and should receive no more or no less marks than their performance allows.
The Canadian pair won the silver for a gold-medal performance because of a fraudulous political act of judges compromising on the outcome favouring each other whereas the athletes are the victims of circumstance.
The local Special Olympics curling team experienced similar consequences at the provincial curling trials in Espanola a few years ago, winning round-robin play but placed into third place by the judges, which put the local team out of competing for the right to represent Ontario at the National Winter Games in Ottawa.
A solution to this irate problem would be to search out gold-medal winners from the past to act as qualified replacements as to the ones who have been picked by political means.
Generally, amateurs in their own right.
How can we possibly call this Olympics when there are millionaires competing against amateurs. Professionals are for the world competition, amateurs are for the Olympics. It is as simple as that.
If the Olympics are going to survive, professional sports as well as hard-core politics has to be cast out and a revised structural system employed for the deserving athletes and not the wealthy professionals.
Yes, indeed, the Olympics are for the amateurs.
Mike Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.