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June 25, 2024 62 mins

Robert sits down with Matt Lieb to discuss Avery Brundage, the millionaire athlete and professional Olympics nerd who stopped the U.S. from Boycotting the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Also media.

Speaker 2 (00:04):
Oh oh my gosh, welcome back to Behind the Bastards,
a podcast where, unbeknownst up to this moment to everyone
who has been listening for years, Matt Leeb and I
live in a house that is essentially an exact replica
of Burton Ernie's home in Sesame Street, and we're just

(00:25):
we're in bed. We're getting relaxing from a long day
of watching terrible things on the internet. Matt, are you
are you tired? Are you bummed out?

Speaker 3 (00:34):
All the time? Every day is a new fresh crop
of horrors, which is why you know, I like to
go home to our special Burton Ernie house that we
live in together. And so we do it.

Speaker 2 (00:45):
You do it, We do. That was really tough on
your wife, but you know, I think it was the
right decision we made.

Speaker 3 (00:51):
Yeah, I mean, she hates it, but also you know,
like it was pretty clear in the green up that
I would continue to be living with Robert Evan in
our Burton any compounds shocking explanation.

Speaker 2 (01:04):
Unbelievably, the rent on Sesame Street is a nightmare.

Speaker 3 (01:08):
It's insane. There's just a lot of gentrification. Now you
know we are the gentrification. Yeah, well sure, but I
mean when we first decided to move in there, you know,
it was like it was a nice, you know, neighborhood.
It had a lot of culture, you know, right, and
now there's just a lot of oscar the grouches.

Speaker 2 (01:25):
Yeah, just say that.

Speaker 3 (01:26):
You know, they're in that trash can and I'm like, wow,
maybe uh, try doing less fentanyl.

Speaker 2 (01:33):
You know, speaking of fentanyl, you know the emotional equivalent
of fentanyl, Matt is when you accidentally, without trying to
have three straight weeks or like six straight weeks of
stories about pedophiles on Behind the Bastards. I didn't mean
to write when I started with the Margaret episodes that

(01:53):
we were doing talking about those German pedophiles. I didn't
realize that the next like several weeks just happened. I mean,
when I started researching the Thomas Jefferson episodes, I should
have realized, like, oh no, I'm just doing another pedophile
I got. I got locked into a bad pedophile loop,
is what I'm saying. Man, happens to the best of us.
You know, you're best of us.

Speaker 3 (02:14):
You're trying to do your regular podcast schedule and it's
just pedophile Pedophileoh you finally went outside.

Speaker 2 (02:22):
You got fresh air. Oh yeah, yeah, I went off
roading on a mountain and I came back and spent
an entire week reading about the Olympics. And I'm I
am proud to say, Matt, no babies die in this
episode except for like offscreen, and uh no pedophilia in
these episodes. You know, we're safe. We're safe. I'm so excited.

(02:44):
Here's a round of applause.

Speaker 3 (02:46):
No, that was laughter.

Speaker 2 (02:47):
Fun.

Speaker 3 (02:48):
Now the point is, I have a soundboard, but I
have not figured out exactly which sound does what. So
it's going to be a test. We'll see.

Speaker 2 (02:54):
Okay, okay, a lot of tests this week. Well that's good.
I just want to promise everyone before the cold Open closes,
we got a fun one this week. Soay we come back.
We're going to start talking about every Brandage, who was
the American who kind of ran the Olympics in the
United States and eventually he's going to be on the
IOC and he's going to run the Olympics for everybody.

(03:16):
And he is just a Nazi, just a real good
old fashioned American Nazi. I know now I understand why
I got the call. Yeah, we're gonna have fun with
this one. Anyway. That's the cold open, ah, and we're
warm Matt before we roll into this episode, you got

(03:39):
any pluggables to plug? Yeah, that's right, I waited for
after the cold open guys, what Yeah.

Speaker 3 (03:44):
I mean I do have some pluggables. I actually started
a new podcast, and this podcast is about Israeli propaganda.
It's called Bad has Bara, the World's Most Moral Podcast,
as Bara of course being the word for explaining, which
is kind of a euphemism in Hebrew in Israel for

(04:07):
you know, pr propaganda. Yeah, and so yeah, I started
that podcast a few months ago and just yeah, if
anyone out there is looking for sort of you know,
information about what's going on in the news regarding all
this Israel Palestine stuff, yeah, that's what I've been That's
what I've been doing. I've been doing it from an

(04:28):
anti Zionist Jewish bent, so that people can, you know,
more fully understand what they are seeing and hearing with
their eyes and why people are telling them not to
believe what they see and hear with their eyes and ears.

Speaker 2 (04:42):
Well, it's fun. That does kind of fit in with
our subject of today's episode, because as is going on
right now in Gaza. We are talking about a time
when a bunch of horrible stuff was being done by
the government of a country and a lot of other countries.
Everyone just kind of tried to pretend it wasn't because
it was really inconvenient to deal.

Speaker 3 (04:59):
With the problem.

Speaker 2 (05:00):
You know, in this case, the country's Germany. Oh yes, yeah,
So we're going to get to that, but first we
kind of need to start this episode. We really have
to peel back a couple of thousand years here, because
it's worth talking about what the Olympics was.

Speaker 3 (05:17):
Uh, and we had.

Speaker 2 (05:18):
To start from thousands of years ago? Yeah, we do.

Speaker 3 (05:22):
God damn all right, when was the first Oh that's right,
the Olympics is a thing.

Speaker 2 (05:27):
It's gotten back in the Yeah. No, further than that,
this is the ancient Greeks, right, yeah, different, Yeah, yeah,
they are, they're much older.

Speaker 1 (05:36):
Once upon a time, Once.

Speaker 2 (05:38):
Upon a time, there were these guys called the ancient Greeks,
and you know, they invented Western philosophy, and they invented
some chunk of mathematics. I don't know which part of mathematics,
but I remember learning that some of math was invented
by the ancient Greeks. Sure, and they made a lot
of art that said, well, they did a lot of
great stuff. They spent the bulk of their time murdering

(05:59):
each other in really terrible ways. The ancient Greeks loved
killing each other. But in the late seven hundreds BC,
the ancient Greeks decided, let's do something besides killing each
other and philosophy, Let's do sports. Now that it's right
in between, it's a mix, right, like, everyone fights, okay,

(06:20):
but we're not going to kill at the end, We're
just gonna you know, you're not.

Speaker 3 (06:24):
Going to give war.

Speaker 2 (06:25):
Yeah, So this is not a new Sports was not
a new concept in the seven hundreds BC. People had
been sportsing for basically as long as we've had cities,
at least in some fashion or another. Nice but the
idea that became the Olympics was new, which is that
all of these cities that are periodically, you know, at war,
in conflict with each other regularly, we're all going to

(06:46):
come together and everybody's going to compete without murdering each other. Right.
That is kind of but that's a novel idea at
the time. The first Olympics. You know, I think the
dates there's always a little bit of flex in dates
this far back, but it was probably around seven twenty
six PC, and it was initially not a great show.
It's just a single two hundred meter race, which given

(07:07):
that ever people are like, you know, if you're traveling,
if you're walking five days to get to another city,
you could.

Speaker 3 (07:12):
Die on that walk.

Speaker 2 (07:13):
Right, you watch a guy run two hundred meters.

Speaker 3 (07:18):
I lost three children on my way to watch people
sprint for a.

Speaker 2 (07:21):
While, my family died, But boy, that guy was slightly
faster than anyone I'd ever seen before.

Speaker 3 (07:27):
Yeah, I mean it's sad, But also I won five
hundred dollars with draft Kings.

Speaker 2 (07:33):
With draft that's right. DraftKings first started in seven to
seventy six PC. Yeah, so everyone seems to agree. I
have agreed that like doing a whole Olympics for one
little race was kind of bullshit and not worth the trouble,
so they started adding games pretty quickly. Now, running is
always going to be a staple, as it is today,
But the Greeks were like modern humans and that once

(07:54):
they figured out the idea of big international sporting events,
they all kind of solidified that the best thing to
gather to watch other people do was beat the shit
out of each other. Yeah, and fighting.

Speaker 3 (08:05):
Yeah, I mean that's so sad because they're probably trying
to get away from that. Can can you do something like,
you know, sportsmanship, like the.

Speaker 2 (08:12):
Thist thing from war Running?

Speaker 3 (08:14):
Yeah, listen, there's got to be blood or else want here.
These people going to risk thealize of their kids to
walk all the way over here. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (08:20):
I literally can't even get hard without watching a guy
die anymore. Like what are we doing?

Speaker 3 (08:25):
So?

Speaker 2 (08:26):
Wrestling was added in at the eighteenth Olympiad and seven
o eight BC. Boxing entered for the twenty third Olympiad
and six eighty eight BC, and then puncreation was added
in the thirty third Olympiad.

Speaker 3 (08:39):
You're gonna have to explain that one.

Speaker 2 (08:41):
It's basically, yeah, it's ancient MMA. It's like the first
kind of MMA, right, Like it's like a proto MMA
style competition, right. OK, So this is this is what
eventually leads to the invention of Joe Rogan.

Speaker 3 (08:54):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (08:54):
Yeah, as we all know, is an undying immortal figure.
Uh yeah, he's and that's right, that's right. He's essentially
the Emperor from Warhammer forty thousands. But he really really
just focused on fighting sports and male So the ancient
Olympics had a pretty good run. They're doing this for

(09:16):
like not far off from a thousand years something like that,
a little over because they finally died. Yeah, it goes
like seven seventy six to three hundred and ninety three
a d thereabouts. Again, these are kind of soft dates
on the last of the Ancient Olympics is too, But
the end of the old Olympics is generally blamed on
Emperor Theodosius the First, who has said to he's a

(09:39):
you know, he's one of these big Christian Roman emperors,
and he said to have considered it pagan idolatry. I
think that more rigorous scholarship has cast a lot of
doubt on this because he doesn't seem to have actually
banned them explicitly. But whatever the truth, whatever specifically kind
of leads to the fall of the Olympics, they do
stop doing them right by the time. Yeah, it's a well,

(10:00):
I don't know, I don't actually like the Olympics.

Speaker 3 (10:02):
So yeah, I mean, listen, I don't know whether or
not the Olympics is good. I just success that there
was like the first nerd emperor who's like, oh, no
sports ball please.

Speaker 2 (10:12):
Maybe he may have just it may have just been
that he was banning other pagan shit, but like that
stuff was less popular than the Olympics, and so people
kind of lied about it. I don't know. I'm not
an Emperor Theodosius the first expert. I just know people
have cast doubt on the fact that the idea that
he killed the Olympics. Sure, we'll never know, probably at
any rate, by the time the Roman Empire, the Western

(10:33):
Roman Empire falls, we're not doing olympicses anymore. They are
a fading memory, and they would stay that way until
a french man with a ridiculous mustache was born in
eighteen sixty three. I'm gonna ask Sophie to get us
a picture of that man's mustache up on the old
screen here. Yeah, but his name was Pierre de Kubartine,
and he became French, by which I mean he was

(10:55):
born at a terrible time to be French, because when
he's seven or so, born in like eighteen sixty three,
so he is seven or eight when the Emperor Napoleon
the third decides, you know who I want to start
a fight with Prussia and.

Speaker 3 (11:08):
It's yeah, he's my favorite guy. He just he just
went in there and was like, I'm gonna be like
my great uncle. What was he?

Speaker 2 (11:17):
He was like a nephew. It was like a great uncle.
We've done the episodes on I forget the act, so
it's kind of a tortured.

Speaker 3 (11:23):
Yeah, but he's like, I'm going to do it but
more shitty and gonna.

Speaker 2 (11:26):
Be really bad at it instead of instead of beating
the Prussians at a war, I'm gonna lose so badly
that they create Germany. But look at this guy's mustache.
My god, what a That's a one thing you can't
critique the man on is his facial hair.

Speaker 3 (11:42):
He looks great.

Speaker 2 (11:43):
Yeah, he looks like he looks like he's just railed
a triple. It's incredible stuff.

Speaker 3 (11:49):
I love it. Oh my god, this guy.

Speaker 1 (11:52):
Every pick click, it just gets better.

Speaker 2 (11:55):
He this man, this man couldn't. It's it's what I know.
He actually did live out like past the eighteen hundreds,
but he shouldn't have Like that is an eighteen nineties face.
He's perfect for the eighteen nineties. Pierre's family were aristocrats,
and he was their fourth child. His dad and again
they're aristocrats, so his dad doesn't have to do anything

(12:16):
for a living, so he's like a painter and he's
a Royalist. He believes in bringing I think it might
have been the Bourbon's back as kings, and his childhood
suffered from the fact that the whole royalist cause in
France kind of takes a shit after eighteen seventy one,
which seems to have made his dad miserable, and his
dad seems to have kind of taken it out on
the family. Unlike a lot of European aristocrats, to Cubbartine

(12:40):
is going to grow up profoundly anti war. He is
actually never kind of not unique in this period, but
it's kind of refreshing, really rare. He's never one of
these guys who's like, ah, the gallantry of combat, because
it's earliest memories are like, we got our asses kicked.
We should never have a war again.

Speaker 3 (12:56):
Yeah, yeah, we're not good at it anymore.

Speaker 2 (12:59):
We had one Napoleon and everything's got a shit since him.

Speaker 3 (13:03):
We had Bourbons, we had the dukedoor leone guy became
the thing like we can't do any of this.

Speaker 2 (13:09):
Shit, Yeah, let's stop. So he's a great student, he
goes to Jesuit school, which is like those that's the
if you're like at all Catholicy, that's where you want
to go back in this period, but he refuses to
follow his father's wishes because his dad wants him to
join the military, which again had been kind of the
expected thing for folks in his chunk of the aristocracy.
By the time he's a young adult, de Coubartine has

(13:32):
decided he wants to study law and history, and he
seems to have kind of thoroughly concluded that like my
father's France failed, right, like the culture in which I
was raised in is a failure, and we need to
make changes, which he's not wrong about. At age twenty,
he encounters a book called Tom Brown's School Days. This

(13:53):
is a really influential, maybe the most influential piece of
fiction and educational history, because it both because of how
popular it is, like the English boarding school system had
existed before, because this book is literally about it, and
in fact it's like fictionalizing an actual English like basically
principal Tom Arnold, who was like Arnold, Yes, yes, that

(14:15):
Tom Arnold. He has deep roots. Deep roots has also
been around for a while yes, yeah, and was Yes,
this was the thing he did before he wasn't what
was it, coneheads? He was in the stupids, the stupids,
the stupids, Jesus Christ. So this is one of the
most influential pieces of fiction and educational history because not
only does it like create the cultural image of the

(14:39):
English boarding school system as this incredibly like renowned and
like it's part of why people from all over the
rest of the world start enrolling like rich people in
English boarding schools. Right, is the success of this book
and it also launches the genre of boarding school novel
as like a thing. So this is literally like there,
this is like the start of the DNA line that

(15:00):
ends in Harry Potter is Tom brown schooldays, Right, these
are directly related, Like we get Harry Potter because of
Tom Brown School Days.

Speaker 3 (15:07):
It's like the.

Speaker 2 (15:08):
First ya novel. Yeah, I love this, Yeah, I mean
it has a lot to do with that. Yeah, Tom
Brown school Days focused on the Rugby School, which is
again run by Tom Arnold. In one later article on
the subject, a guy named Volker Cluges rights. Arnold sought
to educate his students by including sports and community games
for Christian gentlemen. I was confronted with something completely new

(15:29):
and unexpected, athletic education. Kubertine wrote, Now, Arnold actually didn't
like sports. He's one of those guys where he's like,
I don't actually, I think this is kind of like
at a little common for me. But if you don't
give boys away to tire themselves out, they'll masturbate. So
this is the best option.

Speaker 3 (15:48):
That it's always someone trying to stop you from coming
as a team. Well, yeah, the fuck.

Speaker 2 (15:54):
The entire route of like Victorian civilization is stopping boys
from coming. That's all that we stop this. In an
article for The Daily Beast, Candida Moss rights Arnold believed
that in order to create Christian gentlemen, he had to
replace bad impulses with good. Arnold himself wasn't a particular
fan of sports, but he preferred it to fighting or poaching.

(16:15):
If you exhaust young men and produce and promote the
idea of sportsmanship, you will keep them out of trouble.
So Coopertine, he takes on this and he's going to
take it further. Right, But this idea that like sporting,
kills bad impulses in young men, right, and he's not
as obsessed with coming as he is with violence, right,
but he's going to become increasingly convinced that, like somewhere

(16:38):
in sporting lies the solution to like all of these
wars that keep happening.

Speaker 3 (16:43):
Yeah, I kind of feel that there's there's something to
that there where you're just like, what if, like instead
of you know, everyone just like killing a bunch of
people every few years, Like, what if we all just
fucking had a magic the Gathering tournament and figure it out? Yeah,
you know, I get it.

Speaker 2 (16:59):
Yeah, I've I've seen some like not quite sports riots,
but I've seen some like really rowdy fights over sports
in Germany between like German and French fans. And I
thought at time was like, well, this is a real
move up from World War One, Right, this is so
much better than the last time you guys got angry
at each other.

Speaker 3 (17:16):
No one's getting gassed, you know, everyone is just kind
of like using a couple of teeth.

Speaker 2 (17:20):
What an innovation.

Speaker 3 (17:21):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (17:23):
Cooper teen spent the eighteen eighties traveling around the world
through the US and UK and Switzerland and meeting all
sorts of advocates for youth sports and sporting organ associations.
Particularly influential was a meeting with the Peace League, and
this is an activist group who taught that boxing was
a great way to like prevent war, right like if
you if and I guess partly, yeah, I get that,

(17:48):
like giving people a healthy outlet for physical aggression could
be useful in that, but also there's a lot of
head injuries that come with boxing, and we know that
head injuries, yeah, can contribute directly to war.

Speaker 3 (18:00):
Yeah, listen, this is it's a there's a pros and
cons to this idea. But I get it.

Speaker 2 (18:06):
I get it.

Speaker 3 (18:06):
You know, you know you can see the logic stop war.
You know they were ultimately wrong, yes, but I get
trying it out for a little bit.

Speaker 2 (18:17):
It's not like, yeah it is. It's one of those
things I both want to make some bit jokes because
of how like wrong this guy is, but also I
can see the logic like at the time, you can't,
he's not. It's it's not dumb or like a shitty
for like wanting this to work. I also wish it
had worked.

Speaker 3 (18:34):
It's better logic than you know, Oh, this will stop
you know, kids from coming. Yeah, that's that of course
is not going to bed. Well, I don't even know
what their thought process is because I've never been too
tired to janet.

Speaker 2 (18:47):
No, no, no, no young man ever has been, No
young man has ever been.

Speaker 3 (18:51):
We all always have a little extra room for jell O,
you know what I mean.

Speaker 2 (18:54):
Yeah, And it's it's also like he's got better logic
than the guys who are like, well, we've built the
least gun ever, surely this will stop war.

Speaker 3 (19:03):
Yeah. No one's gonna want to get in front of
one of these guys. So war's over.

Speaker 2 (19:08):
Yeah. No one's going to feed an entire generation of
their young men into these things.

Speaker 3 (19:13):
We built a giant human meat grinder. Anyways, war is
over now, right, pulling more men into it all cruel fate.

Speaker 2 (19:25):
So Cooper teen wrote that boxing could be a peacemaker
and still you know again, this, this whole process is
what culminates in him being inspired to revive the Olympics. Right,
he revives the Olympics because he has this messianic belief
in the power of sports to end global conflict. And
I think he's mostly when he talks about ending war,
he's not talking about ending all these little colonial wars.

(19:48):
He's primarily talking about like avoiding another European war, right, yeah, right, right, right.

Speaker 3 (19:53):
Right, yeah, the war that's that will cost more lives
for you know, his own people. Where's the nice colonial war?
Is just like no, that's just a simple eradication. Yeah,
we don't even hear about that on the news, really exactly,
that's not even people don't worry about that. Shaw, you
kill all them.

Speaker 2 (20:09):
So, as Da Kobertine wrote, let us export rowers, runners
and fencers. There is the free trade of the future,
and on the day when it is introduced within the
walls of old Europe, the cause of peace will have
received a new and mighty stay. Sure, it's a nice idea. Yeah.
Eventually he convenes a Congress eighteen and obviously I am
YadA YadA ing a lot about this process because we

(20:31):
don't need to get into the weeds of it. But
they have a Congress in eighteen ninety three to decide,
like he and a bunch of other folks who are
part of like major sporting organizations in the West, how
are we going to revive the Olympic Games?

Speaker 3 (20:42):
Right?

Speaker 2 (20:43):
It is decided that these games should be for amateur
athletes only, not paid professionals. This is the first of
what are going to become mini breaks with the original Olympics.
In the ancient Greek Olympics, there was no rule against
them making money for winning, right, you could bet on
ship like. They didn't have any problem with that. There's also,

(21:03):
as far as we know, there were no rules against doping. Now,
doping was different in ancient Greece. We know that they
would like eat a lot of beef because they thought
it was like it worn't the way steroids.

Speaker 3 (21:15):
You know, if you eat a lot of beef, then
you become strong as how everyone knows it's simple.

Speaker 2 (21:21):
Yeah, beef makes you cowstraw.

Speaker 3 (21:22):
Yeah, if you eat whole horse, you become run as
fast as horse. It's simple logic. Everyone knows you could
fly real hard. Everybody knows this.

Speaker 2 (21:38):
Now. The other thing I should notice that, like at
the start of the revived Olympics, there are no rules
against doping, and in fact, people are going to do
lots of drugs in the early Olympics and it's fine. Yeah,
I'm okay with that.

Speaker 3 (21:50):
Early Olympics. Yeah, you know, that's they they were figuring
it out.

Speaker 2 (21:54):
It's considered it actually may have been less common then
just because it was considered ungentlemanly, but it wasn't like
forbidden for a while, right, And so a lot of
times people wouldn't do dope just because it wouldn't dope
just because like, well I am a gentleman, you know.

Speaker 3 (22:08):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (22:08):
Anyway, there's a lot of confusion in trying to understand
what the Olympics were meant to be when they were revived,
in the use of the word amateur, because like if
I were, say it were to say, oh, that golf
player is a real amateur, you would interpret that to mean, well,
he's not very good, right, yeah, you would not. An
average person would never look at a world class Olympic
gymnast and go, wow, what an amateur? Right, Like, that's

(22:30):
just not how we use that word. Yes, but in
the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, that word
had a very different meaning. And I want to quote
from an article for Vice by la Jennings here. Sports
in the nineteenth century remained a luxury of the middle
and upper classes, with lower class athletes routinely excluded from participation.
The rules for the eighteen seventy eight Henley Regatta declared

(22:51):
no person shall be considered an amateur orsman or sculler
who is or has been by trader employment for wages,
a mechanic, artisan, or aborer. Sports historian Alan Gutman explains
that in its earliest institution, rules of amateurism were invented
by the Victorian middle and upper classes to exclude the
lower orders from the play of the leisure class.

Speaker 3 (23:13):
Yeah, that's that sounds about right though. That's yeah, that's
kind of what it is. I mean. Listen, yeah, whenever
people talk about, you know, NCAA basketball players like trying
to get a little bit of money for their the
fact that these schools use their images and sell merch
based on them, but they can't make a single dime,

(23:33):
it does feel very similar. It's like, no, we've put
these rules in place so that you stay poor, yeah,
and we can make some money.

Speaker 2 (23:41):
Yeah. Yeah, And that is we are talking about the
origins of why the NCAA be that way, right, Like
that all has its roots in this and in fact,
the bastard for the avery brundage is the guy who
is like has a major role and why the NCAA
adopts those like student athlete regulations. Yeah, but it's important
to know that like kind of where we are now

(24:02):
with like these student athletes, and it's like, well, you know,
we can make millions of dollars off of you, and
you can mortgage your body and your future health, but
you can't make any money off of it because then
you wouldn't be an amateur. That has its origins, and
like the origins of that are these rich people being like, well,
poor people like sports too, and they're often better at
them than us. So let's just say, if you make

(24:23):
money doing anything, you can't compete with us. If you
have to work for a living, you can't. You can't
play our games. These are just for amateurs.

Speaker 3 (24:35):
That is exactly why it was an invented. Absolutely were
just like, man, these guys are way too good at rowing.

Speaker 2 (24:41):
Yeah, exactly. And to be fair, Kopertine and the Olympics
are actually a step forward from this very regressive. It's
still regressive by modern standards, but from these you know
that eighteen seventy eight, we like, yeah, nobody can take
part in this if you have to work for a living. Right.
Quote when Peer de Kubertine called for the revival of
the Olympic Games in eighteen ninety two, primary discussion amongst
the elite group of educators and public figures who formed

(25:03):
the first version of the Olympic Committee was to determine
who would be allowed to compete in the games. In
other words, who counts as an amateur, because this word
is still very important to them, but they are going
to kind of redefine it.

Speaker 3 (25:15):
Right.

Speaker 2 (25:16):
Initially it had meant like, well, only rich people can
have the time to become world class athletes because they
don't have to, like work for a living. And it's
going to evolve through this period. In eighteen ninety four,
the workers rights movement has made enough inroads that even
the kind of out of touch elites that Da kuber
Teen works with to start the Olympics, they're not going
to say if you have to work for wages, you
can't compete, right, But they are going to try and

(25:39):
exclude working class people anyway by basically saying you just
can't make money from sports, right, which still excludes people
because only rich people can afford to like practice enough
to become world class without ever making money on it. Right,
it still mostly excludes people. I mean, I don't know,
I mean I guess it's like someone if they run

(26:01):
for a living because they have a job as you know,
a circus performer running away from this crazy, crazed lion.
But like, for the most part, it's like, yeah, no
one's playing basketball on any other level except for right
professionally for money. Yeah, and there is there's also a
degree of a legitimate concern, which is that these guys,

(26:22):
as much as they hate to admit it, recognize that,
like pro boxers are always going to be better like
and most pro boxers are like poor people who came
up fighting like the nastiest kind of fights you can
fucking conceive, right, yea to be able to become like
make a lot of money as a boxer, that guy,
some like rich dude is like the fourteenth Earl of

(26:45):
chong Seberry or whatever. That guy is going to get
his skull turned into powder by eighteen nineties. Mike Tyson, Right, we.

Speaker 3 (26:54):
Must ben anyone who does it professionally less we get
our heads mashed in by an irishman.

Speaker 2 (27:00):
Yeah, a man whose ears are entirely calliflower.

Speaker 3 (27:04):
Yeah, he's not allowed.

Speaker 2 (27:09):
No, he can't compete, No, no, not.

Speaker 3 (27:13):
So.

Speaker 2 (27:13):
Eventually they come up with a new definition for amateur,
which is somebody who is profited specifically for their participation
in a sport that they want to compete in for
the Olympics. As Alan Goodman notes, through most of the
twentieth century, amateurism was defended with the argument that fair
play and good sportsmanship are possible only when sports are
in athlete's avocation, never his or her vocation. Kind of

(27:35):
what's going on here, We're going to see this with
when we finally do get to Avery Brundage. There's this
attitude among like the wealthy and the aristocracy, who all
have a lot of money, that there's something gross about capitalism.
Still they are the winners of this system, but they
recognize that like the way in which we compete under
capitalism kind of ruins fun stuff.

Speaker 3 (27:58):
But the way of doing that yeah you know, yeah,
yeah that's true.

Speaker 2 (28:03):
Yeah, but their way of dealing it with it is
to just try to keep poor people away. Yeah. So
the first actual Olympics is going to hit in eighteen
ninety six. It is, you know, more gender woke than
the original Olympics. Women had not been allowed to participate
in the original Olympics. The ancient Greeks not really big
fans of women.

Speaker 3 (28:24):
Yeah, they didn't even fuck them have Yeah, not.

Speaker 2 (28:27):
Really not famous for that, so they you know, the
new Olympics is going to be a lot better at that,
but it is biased heavily towards men and women of means.
In the longer term, the fact that this veneration of
amateurism is initially bundled up in the heart of the
whole idea will provide an opportunity for Olympic officials to
exact execute petty grievances and fuck with athletes they don't

(28:47):
like for whatever reason. We are talking bullshit, power trip stuff,
and the king of that kind of shit is going
to be the future International Olympic Committee President, Avery Brandage.
We finally got into our bastard. So that's take an
ad break here and then we'll come back to talk
about Avery. We're back. Do you like the Olympics, Matt

(29:15):
like watching them and stuff? This is an Olympic year,
I think.

Speaker 3 (29:18):
Yeah, so I don't like them, nor watch them, but
when it's on, it's something that like occasionally I'll just
like turn on a TV and I'll be like, oh
shit losing, you know, or like, oh that guy's doing
a shot put, and I'll sit and watch for a second,
and then I'll think to myself, like, how the fuck

(29:39):
did they fill up all those seats? Yes, usually the
question I have, But I don't mind people who love it,
you know. Yeah, if you like watching people throw a
javelin like power to you. I wish I was that
easily entertained.

Speaker 2 (29:52):
Yeah, I'm torn because, like you, I don't really like
watching the Olympics, and I also recognize that they often
destroy the cities that they're hosted in one hundred Yeah,
I kind of think we should have just picked one
place to do them and right, yeah, and destroyed that
and destroyed that. Yeah, really fuck up a single city
in Greece. Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 3 (30:10):
Yeah, they're not using.

Speaker 2 (30:12):
It, no, or do it in like downtown Dallas. Just
absolutely annihilate, like force all of these international dignitaries to
get on the fucking high five for seventeen and a
half hours.

Speaker 3 (30:24):
They gotta go to Dallas two years fucking Dallas.

Speaker 2 (30:30):
Just absolutely take take one of the worst traffics that.
I mean, they're trying to do it in La that
that won't be any better.

Speaker 3 (30:36):
I was. My mom prides herself in letting me know
that I was conceived during the eighty four Olympics.

Speaker 2 (30:46):
Yeah, but which event I don't know.

Speaker 3 (30:49):
I don't want to she just says it. I run away.

Speaker 2 (30:51):
I don't want to know where she fucked and during
when I don't. Don't take this the wrong way, but
you do seem like a shot put baby.

Speaker 3 (30:59):
I don't take that.

Speaker 2 (31:00):
I mean that as a compliment. Yeah, that's yeah for sure,
honest sport.

Speaker 3 (31:04):
Yeah, yeah, top heavy guy. Let's see what you're saying.

Speaker 2 (31:07):
I didn't mate that.

Speaker 3 (31:09):
So balls of steel that's what you read.

Speaker 2 (31:11):
Yes, yes, there we go. Avery Brundage, let's talk about Avery.
Born on September twenty eighth, eighteen eighty seven, in Detroit, Michigan.
Oh yeah, Avery would be nine years old for the
very first Olympics. He was one of the people the
aristocrats behind the early Olympic Games actually wanted to keep
out because he is definitely working class. He's going to

(31:32):
be very rich, but he is born a working class kid.
His dad is a stonecutter.

Speaker 3 (31:38):
Damn.

Speaker 2 (31:38):
Yeah, that's like that's the og working class.

Speaker 3 (31:41):
Yeah, that's the original fucking working class job. Yeah, stonecutter
and pitt digger.

Speaker 2 (31:47):
And in classic working class fashion, his father abandons the
family when Avery is five, which is a thing people
could get away with a lot more easy, but easily
back before the internet.

Speaker 3 (31:56):
Yeah, you can just walk, just leave.

Speaker 2 (31:59):
Yeah, he goes for a packet of smokes. Where's that gone?

Speaker 3 (32:04):
Forever?

Speaker 1 (32:06):
Gonna?

Speaker 3 (32:07):
Who are you gonna ask?

Speaker 2 (32:08):
You're the man of the house now, Avery, I hope
you know what all taxes. Avery has one younger brother, Charles,
and they spend their early childhood bouncing around with relatives.
We don't get a lot of context is how this
impacted him, but it doesn't interfere with his schooling. He
is an excellent student. He wins an essay contest in
nineteen oh one at age thirteen that secures him a

(32:31):
trip to see President McKinley's second inauguration. Yeah, he really
got in on the McKinley train right before the end
of it. There is that the one who oh, yeah, yeah,
get he gets got yeah Anton shoh gosh.

Speaker 3 (32:44):
Yeah, it's like an anarchist kills him.

Speaker 2 (32:48):
There was That's the one one that we got. Yeah,
there's a there's a pretty good song from a musical
about that, sung by Doogie Howser, So check that one out. Yeah,
in general, aside from the dad abandoned them thing. He's,
you know, not a bad early nineteen hundreds childhood. He survives,

(33:09):
so that's doing good. You know, he makes it past
all the cholera and the Spanish flu, so you know,
he's not doing bad. He makes a living as a teenagers,
like a boy delivering newspapers. It's kind of unclear to
me how poor he really is. One source I've read
claims he had to sell newspapers to help his mother
buy bread, and that when he got into sports in

(33:30):
high school he had to build his own equipment to
be able to play. I kind of have come to
think some of this is myth making right. He is
definitely working class, but he has a big family that
seems to have been very supportive of he and his brother.
And his uncle Ed is the Republican leader of Chicago's
North Side during a time that means you are taking

(33:52):
every bride conceivable like his his His uncle Ed is
the Attorney General of Illinois. Eventually that man is Batman
is getting so bribe.

Speaker 3 (34:04):
Yeah, there's no way, okay, this is really poking holes
in the whole working class here thing here.

Speaker 2 (34:10):
Yeah, So one thing everyone agrees upon is that Brundage
was an exceptional athlete. He becomes a track star near
the end of his public school life, and when he
graduates and moves to the U of Illinois to study
civil engineering, he plays basketball and continues to do track.
He is sort of a stereotypical jock. He's a popular kid.

(34:30):
He's the leader of his fraternity. He's one of those
guys who would have posted quotes from Friday Night Lights
on their Facebook wall every hour and a half if
he had lived to see the modern era.

Speaker 3 (34:40):
So a cool guy, So a cool guy, cool guy,
My favorite guy from high school. Why is that to
show that?

Speaker 2 (34:48):
Because I grew up in Texas, Sophie, No, it is
a vibe.

Speaker 3 (34:53):
That's great.

Speaker 2 (34:54):
My high school sports stadium was more expensive than most
state sports stadiums, and my high school didn't not have
a good football team. That's just we just had a
ten million dollar stadium because you do. Yeah, like you've
got to be ready in case someone gets good. Yeah,
so you might have a kid who's really good at
some point, or that.

Speaker 1 (35:12):
You find Kyle Kyle Chandler to be very handsome.

Speaker 2 (35:15):
Man, I don't even know who that is.

Speaker 3 (35:17):
Both things can be true. Sophie.

Speaker 2 (35:19):
I saw Sophie. I didn't watch my parents watch that show.
I avoided it, like the plague. I just know what
it means to people speaking of what sports means to avery.
Since they don't have Facebook, he has to settle with
writing articles for his school paper.

Speaker 3 (35:35):
In Facebook, he would have found his dad.

Speaker 2 (35:38):
He would have found his dad. But no, but no,
So he's got to write shit like this, which I
founded in nineteen seventy two Sports Illustrated article that's talking
about his life. One of his contributions was entitled the
football field is a sifter of men. No better place
than a football field could be chosen to test out
a man. Here a fellow is stripped of most of

(36:00):
the finer little things contributed by ages of civilization, and
his virgin nature is exposed to the hot fire of battle.
It is man against man, and there is no thorough
a mode of exposing one's true self. Oh yeah, you've
definitely exposed your urgin nature. Yeah, man, football the crucible

(36:21):
of manhood.

Speaker 3 (36:23):
Touch one, boob, bro.

Speaker 2 (36:25):
You want a fucking game that's a crucible of manhood? Uh,
there's a Burskashi, the Afghan version of polo, which is
played on horseback with the corpse of a goat as
the ball. That's a crucible of manhood, right there. Yeah, yeah,
play some burskashi, right, don't get me this football ship.

(36:45):
You guys didn't even know what to tackle back then.
So Avery is, Look, they hadn't invented steroids. It couldn't
have been very good football.

Speaker 3 (36:53):
No.

Speaker 2 (36:53):
Yeah, they were wearing all leather exactly normally.

Speaker 3 (36:56):
You know they were the people were definitely getting hurt,
but yes, from him, very little, but not in a.

Speaker 2 (37:02):
Way that was as impressive as the way our current
professional monsters hurt each other.

Speaker 3 (37:07):
Yeah, yeah, you don't know about c Yeah.

Speaker 2 (37:11):
So Avery is a smart kid who's obsessed with sports,
and like Kubertine, he comes to see them as a
potential remedy for every problem of modernity. Now, Kubertine is
obsessed with peace because you know, his childhood had been
defined by a war and avoiding conflict through sportsmanship. Avery,
on the other hand, seems to because he is a

(37:31):
poor kid who makes a lot of money as an adult,
he comes to see athletic competition as proof of the
fact of the wisdom and goodness of capitalism. Right, because
he's good at capitalism right, and so sports has to
mirror the thing that he has found. Meaning in sure,
Avery gets a job as a construction superintendent for a
major architectural firm, and he personally supervised the construction of

(37:53):
three percent of the buildings built in Chicago during the
years that he had this job.

Speaker 3 (37:58):
So he is very real money.

Speaker 2 (38:00):
He has. Oh the bribes. This guy's taking my god, Chris.
Throughout his early to mid twenties, he continued to compete
as an amateur, in fact, working a day job completely
outside of the field of athletic endeavor. Avery Brundage was
the very model of what the Olympics now meant by
the term amateur. Now, the early nineteen hundreds are a
different time in athletic competition, and Avery was into some

(38:23):
stuff that I was going to say was very weird
sports shit until I realized this sport is still a
sport today. We just don't talk about it because it's
kind of lame. But I'm gonna run from a Sports
Illustrated article about his chief sport. Although heel and toe walking,
the discus and shot put were his specialties. He became
a devotee to the torches of the pentathlon, to cathlon

(38:45):
and most excruciatingly of all, what he fondly calls the
old American all around. Now, I'm not shitting on the
pentathlon and the cathlon and stuff. Those are like really difficult,
physically demanding things. It's just incredibly funny to me that
heel to toe walking is a sport.

Speaker 3 (39:00):
I still I'm trying to picture heel to toe walking?

Speaker 2 (39:03):
Is it just? Uh?

Speaker 3 (39:04):
Is that gallivanting?

Speaker 2 (39:06):
What is it looks like if you did you ever
live in a place where like there would be like
groups of usually like oh, and I don't say this
to insult them, usually like middle aged women who would
have like a walking group together.

Speaker 3 (39:19):
Oh yeah, speedwalk, my mom, speed walk.

Speaker 2 (39:21):
It looks like that to me. But when people describe it,
they're always like, this is a shockingly intent race. Walking
is actually one of the most intense and physically demanding
sports you can do. And I'm sure they're right, but
it also does I don't believe them that the state
of time?

Speaker 3 (39:38):
Did you picture at Hills Park? Yes? I did. It
was just like, this is the first thing I thought
of it. I was like, I've seen all these old
ladies doing the speed walking and I'm.

Speaker 2 (39:47):
Willing to believe it's good exercise by sure. As an
adult and president of the Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage told
Sports Illustrated that an eight hundred and eighty yard heel
in towalk he did was quote the closest to man
can come to experiencing the pangs of childbirth.

Speaker 3 (40:06):
I don't know, man, it's possible. I don't know, man,
but I bet it's taxing. But the problem is is
that you can't think about it without being like, is
there Olympic crab walking?

Speaker 2 (40:20):
Is that also a thing that doesn't seem that bad?

Speaker 3 (40:23):
I make it silly.

Speaker 2 (40:24):
My mom did speed walking, and the only thing she
ever compared to childbirth was kidney stones, which seems to
be pretty widely done. So I assume kidney stones are
a comparable experience in some ways, but I've never had either.
I've never had either, so.

Speaker 3 (40:40):
I would rather do heel to toe walking than push
kiddystone through.

Speaker 2 (40:44):
My heel to toe walk all day long, all day long. Anyway,
racewalking is still an Olympic event, even though I made
fun of it. So if you're a racewalker out there,
I'm sure we're going to get the racewalking hive get
really angry at us on Reddit or something. I'm not
trying to shit talk your sport, but it's very silly
that he compares this to childbirth. But he is a

(41:07):
really good athlete. In nineteen fourteen, at age twenty six,
Brundage won the US championship in the American All Around,
which is like, it's a series of ten events the
one hundred yard dash, a high jump, high hurdle, shot put,
broad jump, fifty six pound weight throw, pole vault, and
then that eight hundred and eighty foot walk, plus like
a hammer throw and a run, all done in a
single afternoon, which is like, that's a whole thing to do, right,

(41:29):
That is a that's a lot. He's very good at it.
Sports writers in nineteen eighteen call him the greatest athlete
of his day. So that's all very impressive. You could
look at Avery Brundage's early life as an almost seamless
path of success from poverty to wealth to athletic greatness,
with one gap in his resume of perfection, and that

(41:49):
gap is this. In nineteen twelve, he partook in his
only Olympics as a competitor in Illinois, he had been
a star.

Speaker 3 (41:57):
But in the.

Speaker 2 (41:57):
Olympics he finishes sixth in the pentathlon and fifteen in
the decathlon. And if we're looking at objective terms, neither
of those is bad. You know, Yeah, you made it
to the Olympics. That's pretty good, right, you got to
hang on in the Olympic village.

Speaker 3 (42:10):
That's sick.

Speaker 2 (42:11):
Yeah, you got to. I mean, I assume they had
less sex. Bat I assume at least Avery wasn't having
that much sex. Yeah. This guy about race walking, Yeah
yeah he didn't. He doesn't have much game. Anytime he
meets a lady, he starts talking about how he knows
the pain of childbirth, walk the virgin.

Speaker 3 (42:31):
Virtues of heel to till walking. You'll never understand it.

Speaker 2 (42:35):
But he actually drops out of the pentathlon before finishing
because he realizes he can't get enough points to actually meddle,
which I don't know. My kind kind of seems like
bad sportsmanship. But I've never been to the Olympics.

Speaker 3 (42:46):
I don't know.

Speaker 2 (42:47):
Jim Thorpe, the best athlete in the field at the time,
wins gold in both events. Jim Thorpe is a Native
American athlete. Right, this is going to be very important
because later in life, Avery is going to nurse something
of a grudge against Thorpe. When Avery becomes president of
the International Olympic Committee, Thorpe loses his medals, and there

(43:08):
was like a move to like, come on, give him back.
As you know read he was a great athlete, and
Brundage is always going to be like, no, fuck him.
He broke the rules right, and some people will suggest
maybe it's because he was kind of, you know, jealous. Still,
he never got over loosing. Despite his frustration, or perhaps
because of it. The whole experience of participating in the

(43:28):
Olympics hit Avery as a sort of religious experience. He
later wrote this, what social, racial, religious, or political prejudices
of any kind might have existed were soon forgotten in
sportsmen from all over the world, with different ideas, assorted viewpoints,
in various manners of living, mingled on the field and
off with the utmost friendliness transported by an overflowing Olympic spirit.

(43:52):
My conversion, along with many others to Kubertin's religion, the
Olympic movement was complete. And I kind of think that
what's happening here is that like people didn't travel as
much internationally back then it was harder, and he like
goes overseas as a young man and makes a bunch
of friends and has an intense physical experience, and he
walks away in the same way people do when they

(44:13):
go to raves and stuff, now festivals, Right, he has
that kind of This is like burning man, right, yeah.

Speaker 3 (44:18):
Yeah, they're like, damn you know. It's just like it's
the only place in the world where you can feel
at one with all of humanity, right, and it's like,
what are you talking about. It's like bonoouyeah.

Speaker 2 (44:30):
Exactly, And like any kind of person who has that
sort of experience as a young person, he's going to
spend some time convinced this is the way to save
the world, and unlike most people, he never moves past that. Right,
It's normal to take ecstasy at a really good concert
and be convinced that you found the secret to war.

Speaker 3 (44:47):
But like, yeah, right, a few years later taking ecstasy
just to play some video games at home, and you're
just like, I have a drug product.

Speaker 2 (44:55):
Oh, this is no longer as fun as it was.
So it was not uncommon for dedicated Olympians, particularly those
who went on to work for the Olympics professionally to
kind of worship the Games. This is a religion to
the people who are most into it. It really is.
In his book Berlin Games, Guy Walters writes Kubertine was

(45:16):
almost regarded as Christ, and Ballet Latour, who is like
his second in the Olympic committee, as his disciple. These
men were infalliable because they embodied an idealism that far
transcended the grubby, quotidian strivings of humanity. It was a
pagan idealism. It's pageantry, godless. But at Chauvinu's adherents were
nothing less than fanatics, men for whom no other point

(45:37):
of view was acceptable. If anyone obstructed their ideals, then
they would be subjected to the most vicious ad hominem attacks.
So they have a toxic fan base. Yeah, breaking new
ground there, the Star Wars nerds. Yes, yes, yes, this
is like how everything works now, but it is noted
at the time as being pretty unique. Right, there's nothing

(45:58):
quite like the Olympics and it's toxic fan base.

Speaker 3 (46:01):
Yeah. I told them that I didn't really like the
heeled to tow running and they called me a slur.

Speaker 2 (46:08):
Yeah. Yeah, they mailed a bomb to my dad's house
because I joked about walking not being hard. Starting in
nineteen nineteen, Brundage began to take on more because, again,
by nineteen nineteen, he's not old, but he's like old
for competitive athletics. So he starts taking on more and

(46:29):
more roles in sports administration. He initially takes on roles
in the Amateur Athletic Association or AAU, which what is
at one point the rival of the NCAA. This is
one of those things where they both kind of come
up at the same time and they're kind of trying
to do at least very similar things, and so they
hate each other, right, Right, there's like.

Speaker 3 (46:50):
No, I'm going to these kids off.

Speaker 2 (46:52):
Yeah, I want to rip off these children. I'm the pain.
They like to desploit them. They pretty nasty fight for
a while, They're like there's a period where athletes will
get blacklisted for playing in like NCAA events or AAU
events by the other group. Right, and Avery is actually
going to negotiate a detente between the AAU and the NCAA.

(47:14):
And part of how he does this is he offers
the NCAA the power to certify college students as amateurs. Right,
Oh yeah, yeah, he is the start of all this. Now, yeah,
at the point he does it, college sports is not
an industry in the way that it is today. I
don't even think it's realistic to say he would have
conceived of sports period. Isn't like professional Like the best

(47:36):
professional players of the day are making decent money, but
not like they're not getting hundreds of millions of No,
they're not getting anything close to that, right right.

Speaker 3 (47:45):
In fact, he probably thinks it's antithetical to sportsmanships to
make money off of him.

Speaker 2 (47:50):
Yes, yes he does. And it's important to note that
while that is an excuse now for ripping these kids off,
at his time, there's not the industry behind it to
profit from. So I do think he comes by this
belief honestly, even though I think this is a really
dumb move. Yeah, I don't think he's actually I don't
think he's full of shit in the way that like
modern NCAA officials.

Speaker 3 (48:10):
Right, yeah, I know they all know what they're doing,
but he might have been just a little bit more
idealistic about it.

Speaker 2 (48:15):
Right, right, right, And this is a bigger story than
we have the time to lay out. But the gist
of the problem that comes from this is that colleges
are going to immediately realize that taking a hard line
on amateur status allows them to let kids work for
free and take keep all the money for themselves. This
has led to something This leads very soon after Avery
does what he does. This leads to some horrific situations.

(48:36):
And I'm going to quote from an article by Ellie
Simpson and Lauren Chang Pratitt about this. Ray Denison was
an Army veteran, father of three, and a football player
for the Fort Lewis A and m Aggie's on a scholarship.
In September nineteen fifty five, he shattered the base of
his skull on the knee of a ball carrier during
a game. He died thirty hours after the incident. Dennison's wife, Billy,

(48:56):
filed a lawsuit against Fort Lewis A and M for
workers compensation. The National Collegiate Athletic Association argued that Dennison
was a student athlete because he was on scholarship, meaning
he was not eligible to receive benefits. In its defense,
the NCAAA avoided such terms as club since that was
how professionals referred to their teams. The organization added an
amateurism pledge to every scholarship signing. The NCAAA won the

(49:19):
case coined by then NCAAA president Walter Byers. For that case,
the term student athlete is used as legal precedent to
limit the benefits and compensation college athletes can receive while
playing full time. So damn that happens. Not all that long,
you know, we're talking like forty years, a little less
than forty years, But like that is the ultimate result
of what Avery sets in motion. So in nineteen twenty eight,

(49:42):
Avery is elected the head of the American Olympic Association,
replacing Douglas MacArthur. The oh shit, not long after that's
going to try a new Korea.

Speaker 3 (49:53):
Yeah, I love that. It's just doesn't that kind of
put to rest the whole idea of sports being a
way to stop war?

Speaker 2 (50:02):
When Douglas McCarthy he's out. Avery's in nineteen twenty eight,
and by this point the new Olympics has gone through
some growing pains of its own after almost twenty years
establishing itself World War One through a wrench in the
planned nineteen thirty six Berlin Games, the Games had been
basically set before Hitler came to power, right, I mean,

(50:23):
it's not in power in twenty eight, but like Hitler
comes to power in thirty three, the Games had been
set before then. And once the Nazis take over, this
is going to become a serious issue. Right, but the
games even before Hitler is in the fact that there's
going to be an Olympics in Berlin is a big
deal for Germany because after World War One, Germany is

(50:43):
this Paria nation, right right, And the thirty six Olympics
are seen by the Germans not wrongfully, as being like
this is kind of us re entering the community of Nations. Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Everything's cool now, everyone will be normal.

Speaker 3 (50:58):
This is the Weimar guys talking like, yeahly, by thirty
six everything will be so fucking chilled. People will welcome
us with open arms.

Speaker 2 (51:06):
Yeah, we've got some problems, but we'll still have some
figured out by Set City five at the latest.

Speaker 3 (51:13):
Yeah, it'll just be a few years from now, but
people will still love Germany's in don't worry. So.

Speaker 2 (51:21):
Brundage gets elected President of the American Olympic Committee in
nineteen twenty nine, a role he will hold until nineteen
fifty three, but later that year disaster struck. The economy crashed,
and Brundage lost his first company and the bulk of
his fortune on the brink of bankruptcy. He responded to
losing his money by bullshitting that he was still rich.

(51:42):
He describes going about town with quote his my chest
out and not a nickel in my pocket. But no
one knew except my accountants and secretary.

Speaker 3 (51:50):
He's like, He's like, I'm gonna still look rich even
though I'm poor.

Speaker 2 (51:54):
Yeah, and I don't know. His monicle just gets bigger
and bigger. It's like, oh, I just made more money again.
He's described as having lost all his money, but the
way he writes things, I kind of think he took
a hit, but like he was not on the streets
or anything, right, he was not. It just like hurt him, right,
But he does start another company, he does recover and

(52:14):
rebuild his fortune. I kind of think he just kind
of exaggerates the degree to which he was down during
the depression, because it's more impressive if you come back
from being completely broke, as opposed to like, well, I
went from rich to kind of struggling middle class and
then I got rich again, you know.

Speaker 3 (52:29):
Yeah, yeah, there's no rapper who was just like, started
from the middle.

Speaker 2 (52:33):
Yeah yeah, started from honestly doing pretty okay.

Speaker 3 (52:37):
Yeah yeah, I started from the top, still at the top.
Everything's fine, has always been.

Speaker 2 (52:43):
Fine, either way, whatever the truth is. He would later
mock businessmen who lost their money and committed suicide and
the depression, like, saying that they lacked quote, the character
building discipline of competitive sport. Wouldn't have shot himself if
he'd done more heel and toe.

Speaker 3 (53:00):
There's all these people jumping out of buildings. Have you
tried jumping over a hurdle?

Speaker 2 (53:06):
Yeah, over something slightly higher than you know you can
jump over, and seeing how well you do?

Speaker 3 (53:12):
You know, stop shooting yourself in the head. Stop just
start shooting, yeah, shooting.

Speaker 2 (53:21):
By the early thirties, Avery is back on top, and
we were going to talk about what he does next.
But you know who's never not been on top? O
the sponsors of this motherfucking podcast.

Speaker 3 (53:33):
That's right, they started from the top, still at the top.
That's right.

Speaker 2 (53:37):
We're gonna buy some socks or I don't know, I
don't know what the product is.

Speaker 3 (53:41):
Could be, it.

Speaker 2 (53:41):
Could be the Washington State Highway Patrol. Either one, we're
back by the early thirties. He's rich again. I assume
that seems to be when he got rich again. It's
a little unclear. I don't have access to the man's
bank statements. Either way, he does get rich again. When

(54:02):
he dies, he's worth like twenty million dollars. He seems
to have credited his love of the Olympics and sportsmanship
with instilling in him the values that made his recovery possible.
But he was worried despite the fact that things are
doing better for him. He's worried about the growth of
sinister socialist movements in Russia and beyond. At the same time,
he finds himself intrigued by a new political strain in Germany.

(54:24):
This Hitler chip has some interesting ideas. Fucking hey, why
does it always go back to Hitler?

Speaker 3 (54:31):
Robert Now?

Speaker 2 (54:33):
Part of why it goes back to Hitler is that
Brundage is like an Olympics worshiper, and he he comes
to see the Olympics in somewhat eugenic terms, and in fact,
he seems to have felt about athletes the way Hitler
felt towards Germans and I'm going to quote from Guy
Walters here. Brundage also saw an olympism an enshrinement of

(54:54):
his own racist ideals, ideals he shared with the Chicago
Association of Commerce in November nineteen twenty nine. Perhaps we
are about to witness the development of a new race,
A race of men actuated by the principles of sportsmanship
learned on the playing field, refusing to tolerate different conditions
than the other enterprises of life. A race physically strong,

(55:14):
mentally alert, and morally sound. A race not to be
imposed upon because it is ready to fight for right
and physically prepared to do so. A race quick to
help an adversary beaten in fair combat, yet fearlessly resenting
in justice or unfair advantage.

Speaker 3 (55:30):
Yes, such a short trip from race walking to race science.

Speaker 2 (55:36):
Yeah, that's less than eight hundred and eighty yards. For sure.

Speaker 3 (55:39):
It's a problem with it, you know, just the word
itself being you're super into race, that's how you become racist.
God damn it. Great stuff Like I it's it's just
I don't want to say I get it, but it's
like it's one of those things where you just I
whenever people this is a problem I have with the
Olympics and general that makes me uncomfortable is there is

(56:02):
something of a you know, when they say like yeah,
all the nations you know are competing and whatnot, it
does feel somewhat like race wars the sport. Yeah, it
has that element to it a little bit.

Speaker 2 (56:17):
And then it's always made me feel icky. And there's
this this other thing that, like the Olympics, to Koper
teen seems to legitimately have come by his I think
that this could help us, you know, get past war
as a society, and I respect those utopian ideas, but
it does seem like we eventually walk back around to like, well,
this isn't literally war, but like what do you do
in war? Well, you heard a lot of kids. And

(56:38):
I think about like Larry Nasser molests He's not the
only he's not the only gymnastics coach to have done that.
And certainly I think about like, oh, you know, the
the the systematic mistreatment and abuse of young men as
foot soldis. I think about stuff like you know, Soviet
Union doping athletes or like athletes doping, it all sorts
of countries, right, like yeah, this this obsessive need like well,

(56:59):
we have to win, and anything that we have to
do to these these athletes in order to allow them
to win is okay. So let's shoot them up with
whatever the fuck we could shoot them up with, right.

Speaker 3 (57:07):
And creating a lot of this and the shaming of people,
you know of like athletes, and they're trying to like
ban fucking at the Olympic village.

Speaker 2 (57:17):
There is the one great thing about the Olympics. That's
why you get good at sports, right, yes, you can
eventually someday, nobody some sort of village. Nobody ever became
the best at a sport to not get laid, I'll say,
exactly right. Going on, So, the fact that Avery is
kind of arriving at race science by a way of

(57:37):
here to tell walking yeah, leads him to occupy an
awkward cultural position as Hitler takes power in Germany. Before
Hitler's election, the nineteen thirty six Olympics had again been
promised to Berlin. After Hitler comes to power, many Americans,
a lot of them are Jewish American athletes, but not exclusively.
There's a lot of just people who don't like Nazis

(57:58):
decided like, well, now the Nazis are in charge, we
shouldn't participate in these Olympic Games, right, because it will
normalize the Third Reich and its oppression of its Jewish citizens,
and not just the Jewish the there's a lot of
people who are because it's not just Jewish citizens being oppressed,
but in general, the Third Reich is doing a lot
of terrible shit, and if we show up there to
play the games will kind of be handing them a

(58:19):
win and legitimizing the regime. And we shouldn't, right, right,
A lot of people are arguing this enrages Avery. His
most prince rigid principle is that the Olympics should never
be political. Now, of course that's not really true, that's
what he says. But the way Avery treats the Olympics
is deeply political. He just because whenever he's thinking about

(58:40):
something he believes deeply, he doesn't consider that politics.

Speaker 3 (58:43):
Right, it's not politics, that's just his that's just reality.
Everyone else is just is just perverting his reality, which
is the only true reality.

Speaker 2 (58:53):
Yeah, and I want to I want to quote again
from that Berlin Olympics book quote. He also frequently insisted
that more than the future of amateur sport was at
stake and shielding sport from political manipulation upon sport for
sports sake depended the healthy psychological valuation of individual effort
and excellence that was at the very heart of a
democratic way of life. Moreover, fit bodies and competitive spirits were,

(59:15):
in Brundage's view, essential to the continued success of American
capitalism at home and abroad. But we never acknowledged the
political coloring of his vision of the Olympics. He regarded
them as a kind of international mission for spreading democratic
values and the continuing ideological battle between communism and the
American way of life.

Speaker 3 (59:32):
Yeah, but that's not political.

Speaker 2 (59:34):
That's the natural. That's a natural state. That's just fine,
it's just normal stuff. Now, that's not politics, right, right, Yeah.

Speaker 3 (59:41):
God is a capitalist. Reality is a capitalist, right, Communism
is the devil.

Speaker 1 (59:45):
And most people who self identify as a political or
the most political people I've ever met in my entire life.

Speaker 2 (59:51):
Yes, right, of.

Speaker 3 (59:52):
Course, that's like, you know, it's the height of privilege.
Is the a political nature of your viewpoint when you're
just like, oh, I don't know, I've always felt like
politics is weird. Status quo always seems cool and great.

Speaker 2 (01:00:05):
Yeah, you know, I back when I lived out in
the middle of nowhere, I ran into one guy who
identified as a political and actually was. And the reason
why I believe him is when I told him that
Hillary Clinton was running for president, he was like, wasn't
a Clinton just president?

Speaker 3 (01:00:19):
Yeah?

Speaker 2 (01:00:19):
And I was like, and it like, did not seem
to be aware of the Bush years. But this was
a man who had been out in the mountains that
entire time, not really aware, just kind of missed like
sixteen years.

Speaker 3 (01:00:30):
Yes, yes, yeah, No, if you're going to be a
political you have to be like almost literally living.

Speaker 2 (01:00:36):
Under a ruck.

Speaker 3 (01:00:36):
No.

Speaker 2 (01:00:36):
No, I literally have not talked to anyone in twenty years.

Speaker 3 (01:00:42):
All my best friends are animals. I really don't know
what's politics now, You, in fact, are a political sir.

Speaker 2 (01:00:48):
Wow, all right, so Matt to plug.

Speaker 3 (01:00:55):
Well, if you are an a political person like me,
I yeah, no. I have a new podcast out there
called Bad has Bara, the World's most moral podcast, in
which me and some great guests we talk about what's
going on in Israel and we break down some of

(01:01:15):
the hilarious new propaganda that seems to be dropping on
a daily fucking basis. So yeah, if you want to
you know.

Speaker 2 (01:01:24):
Check that out.

Speaker 3 (01:01:25):
You can get it wherever you know podcasts are given
away for free, or go to YouTube and type in
bad has Bara. The channel is called frotcast because I
used my old YouTube channel that no one watched and
I started posting on there and now it's now it's
mostly bad has Bara content, but proadcast is the name
of the channel. Can I change it? Probably will?

Speaker 2 (01:01:46):
I know, I don't know how youtubes work.

Speaker 3 (01:01:49):
It's f R O T C A S T that's
the name of the channel. And the podcast again is
called bad has Barra h A S B A R.

Speaker 2 (01:02:00):
Hey check it out. All right.

Speaker 1 (01:02:08):
Behind the Bastards is a production of cool Zone Media.
For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website coolzonemedia
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