Even though William Bingham's resignation from the Olympic Committee will not stop the games from being held in Tokyo, the gesture is bound to start a lot of people thinking about the state into which the Olympics have fallen. The outspoken criticisms of Mr. Bingham are just what many persons on the inside of the games have known and felt for a long time, and these sincere sportsmen will welcome a public discussion of the issues.
The primary source of evil in the present setup of the Olympics is that the games are too large. It is not that too many nations participate, for the brotherhood of sports ought to include every country in the world. The trouble is that there are too many events, more than 150 of them at the Berlin Games, including many like women's sports that have no real justification for inclusion and many like architecture which Germany brought in at the last minute to win points. Many events mean many participants, and in the large countries the organization of the tams is now big business. A lot of fine sportsmen are on the committees, but they tend to be elbowed out of control by the politicians, wire pullers, and promoters. The games are slipping out of the hands of those interested in sports for their own sake.
More serious than this deterioration in the internal set-up of the teams is the infection of national and international issues into the games. This also can be attributed largely to oversized teams and multitudinous events. Patriotism and prejudice would be found no matter how few the contestants, but when a team numbers well into the hundreds, its success becokes a matter of real national prestige. For too many countries national prestige no longer is based on honesty and sportsmanship, and these countries carry their ideas of prestige into athletics where honesty and sportsmanship reign supreme. Hitler's treatment of negro and Jewish athletes and the bitter quarrels about the judging are too fresh in mind for this point to need further proof. Japan's fight for the 1940 Games, and the way the keeps mixing them into her policy of expansion and prophylaxis in Asia indicate that not only the conduct but even the location and the outcome of the games are more and more determined by unathletic considerations.
This fall of the Olympics away from the sportsmen to the control of the politicians and statesmen, which is the result of running them on too big a scale, has reached a serious stage. When so patient and sportsmanlike a figure as Bingham can no longer associate himself with the games, it is clear that something rots and smells in the state of affairs.