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US Olympians, Please Turn in Your Medals

It takes a village to raise an Olympian.

At the time I am writing this paper, Michael Phelps has just tied the Olympic record for most medals earned.  This is an amazing achievement.  The dedication he has to his sport and the level of fitness he has been able to maintain seems unbelievable to me, a guy you struggles to keep his own fitness level at ‘average’.  I don’t want to single out Phelps for his Olympic endeavors as currently all the US Olympians are performing very well.  However, the success of these Olympians is not theirs to own and as such their medals should be turned over to the people of the United States.

The majority of these athletes have been practicing their sports for their entire lives.  Countless weekend meets, practices early in the morning before school, practices late at night after school; not to mention that loss of a life times worth social interaction many associate with the adolescent and young adult years.

This is only a small portion of the story.  Every athlete had a coach that needed to be there for those practices and meets.  All of the athletes required that parents or guardians chauffer them to these same practices and meets.  The cost associated with helping your child advance to Olympic quality athleticism would bankrupt the normal family.  These contributions to an Olympians career must not be overshadowed as without them the career would be nonexistence.

For all the support they receive from their immediate friends, family and coaches; it still dwarfs the widespread aid that was given to them by the citizens of the US.  Every road, every stop sign, every flight controlled by the FAA, the police willing to keep the training center safe, the regulations that mandated your equipment be built to safe standards, the fire department that was on call incase your facilities caught fire and finally our national defenses that allowed for them to practice without the risk of the Russians or Chinese kidnapping them for their own Olympic squads.

So while yes, the physical development and personal dedication belongs on the shoulders of the individual Olympian, they depended on the rest of our country for that personal development to progress to Olympic standards.  Thus it is only fair every medal won at the Olympics be collected and maintained by the United States.  Athletes can take their experience and the training they received as their reward.  However, “part of the underlying social contract is you pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”(Warren 2012)  As a result of this underlying social contract I demand that these medals be collected and become property of the United States.  “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”(Obama 2012)

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Is this the proper handling of the US Olympian’s medals?  Please explain why success at this level is not shared equitably while success on a monetary level is expected to be redistributed for the betterment of society.

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St. Swithin August 01, 2012 at 05:50 PM
"You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them." - Mitt Romney 2002
J. B. Schmidt August 01, 2012 at 06:13 PM
@St. Swithin Did Romney use it to advance the idea that successful owe something to the government as Obama and Warren did? Or was Romney offering a thanks to those who worked behind the scenes? If you are intellectually honest, you know there is a stark difference between what Romney said and what was said by Obama/Warren.
Steve ® August 01, 2012 at 06:18 PM
The Olympics are here to stay, you guys just need to get used to it.
James R Hoffa August 01, 2012 at 06:21 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqDIjGsBEP8 This is by far the BEST campaign commercial this election season! And guess what - it features David Newman's theme from the motion picture HOFFA (1992) at the very end!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!
Craig August 01, 2012 at 06:22 PM
http://m.atr.org/article.php?id=7091 Athletes who take home an Olympic medal are taxed on the value of said metal, and the monetary award associated with it. Yet, there is no tax deduction for lessons and coaching costs which can total hundreds of thousands of dollars over the kid's career. Something is really wrong with this US Government to do this, they will never give up a chance to tax people for anything.
James R Hoffa August 01, 2012 at 06:27 PM
JB Schmit - Countering liberal's BS on Patch since 2011 :-)
James R Hoffa August 01, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Hoffa just made a $100 contribution to Scott Brown's campaign - money well spent!
J. B. Schmidt August 01, 2012 at 07:10 PM
@Hoffa Just liv'n the dream baby!
GearHead August 01, 2012 at 07:17 PM
JB, You forgot to mention those swimming pools Phelps practiced in were undoubtably dug by union guys with excavators and big dump trucks. So the medals really should go to AFSCME and Teamsters. Remember, he didn't build that Olympic career by himself. Might I add there could be a Hoffa joke somewhere here buried in the deep end of same pool.
St. Swithin August 01, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Since the 2002 Olympic Games received $1.3 billion in federal money (more than any other U.S. Olympics) I would say that Romney was acknowledging that his own success at running the games owed something to the government. He is saying pretty much what Obama is saying - your success depends in part on the benefits of living in a great nation that provides infrastructure, safety, education and medical care. Were you all born in barns? Are you not benefiting from good roads, clean water and dependable power? Y'all just sound like selfish, short-sighted yahoos when you pursue this argument. Please, go Galt.
J. B. Schmidt August 01, 2012 at 07:51 PM
@St. Within Romney never mentioned government. In the full context of both Obama and Warren they did. There different motives behind each statement. One comment made out of thankfulness on behalf the Olympians for the willing sacrifices of their friends and family and two comments made out of selfish greed designed to socialize profits as if they were granted by the government in the first place. If you have ever driven through a subdivision or industrial park, most of those roads were constructed by the general contractor and not the government. There were roads in existence before there was a US government and my assumption is there would be roads built if the US government never started. You are trying to give the US government credit for the development of everything you see around you. If you remember the Bridge to Nowhere, that is was happen when the government believes it is the catalyst for a capitalist system. Every road the government built already had capitalist system on either end and the people decided to have the government improve the transportation between the two. That makes government a slave to the people and not the engine that drives success.
Steve ® August 01, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Unreal. So they did build it http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/sen-rubio-dont-punish-us-olympians-with-taxes-on-medals-and-prize-money/
J. B. Schmidt August 01, 2012 at 08:31 PM
While I agree with Rubio. Why are Olympians exempt from punishment with respect to their success? What about all the business people who have given up as much of their life for their business?
Steve ® August 01, 2012 at 08:42 PM
It is income, so some tax can be expected. Why it is 35% is beyond me did they go off the gift rates? They also can not expense their training or costs unlike businesses. Basically it's like the won the lottery, yet can not write off the losses, which lottery players can do.
James R Hoffa August 02, 2012 at 05:58 AM
@St. Swithin - "Are you not benefiting from good roads, clean water and dependable power? Y'all just sound like selfish, short-sighted yahoos when you pursue this argument." And by owning a business, employing people, and paying both business and personal taxes, Hoffa also contributes to the public infrastructure - much more so than a mere non-employer individual does. Why do you, Warren, Obama, etc. choose to ignore this reality? Hoffa is one of the 'somebody else's' who made that happen! Recognize!
Ben Dederich August 02, 2012 at 06:18 AM
@Craig Politifact said that there are deductions for lessons, coaching, and equipment which can nullify the whole tax: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/01/americans-tax-reform/do-olympic-medalists-owe-9000-irs/
Plow Boy August 02, 2012 at 12:45 PM
That is not the American way! The people pay and the individual keeps all the rewards.
hank rearden August 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Liberals have no shame, no morals, no conscience. Liberals are despicable.
Bert August 02, 2012 at 07:46 PM
JB - to claim that Romney's quote - telling Olympians that they owe their success in part to the work of others - is somehow different from the quotes you choose from Obama and Warren, is stunningly absurd. "Communities built venues" doesn't mean the same thing as "governments built roads"? You're pushing right-wing delusion to incredible new heights. We ALL rely on the structure of society for our success. Without that structure, our success is simply not possible. This is not a terribly controversial statement. The only thing that seems controversial is the fact that our society's structure costs money, which society's participants must contribute to. For a political "movement" that likes to put down the 'freeloaders', it is quite hypocritical to turn around and claim that those who succeed with the help of society's structure have no responsibility to maintain that structure for the future.
Bert August 02, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Conservatives have no concern for anyone but themselves. They care nothing for the plight of the poor, for the sick, for the homeless. Conservative "morality" is about one thing - money. Conservatives seek to imprison all of us under the tyranny of their religion. Conservatives seek to solidify the burgeoning caste system in this country, which has seen wealth mobility virtually stop. Conservatives favor endless war, solving all differences with bombs and bullets, deeming all attempts at diplomacy "weakness". Conservatives have no soul, no empathy for anyone other than those exactly like themselves. One needs look only at the policies espoused by "liberals" and "conservatives" to see just exactly which side is concerned with equality and freedom, versus selfishness and repression.
Bert August 02, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Ben - don't bother offering "facts". Folks like Steve and JB get all of their "facts" from Drudge and Fox, and consider any evidence that contradicts their favorite talking points to be fabrications of the "liberal media". Our country is being run by the giant lie machine that spoon-feeds angry white people the kind of drivel that keeps them angry and ignorant. No matter how many of the lies are exposed, these ignoramuses will never see the light. Ignorance is bliss, after all, and Steve, JB, Hoffa et. al. cling to their ignorance the way a junkie clings to his fix.
Bren August 02, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Perhaps this is why it is called "Team USA?" At some point we all have an investment in the Olympics and I believe it should continue. The athletes are proud to represent their country and I'm very proud to see them compete.
CowDung August 02, 2012 at 08:09 PM
...and I'd be proud to collect my share of the medals and prize money in return for all the help I've given them.
Craig August 02, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Ben: You can't go back fifteen or twenty years to write off coaching, etc. Many of these Olympians started training at age 4 or 5. There is no financial aid available until the kid makes the Olympic Team, which in many cases can be only months before the Games.
Dave Koven August 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Lighten up, you guys! The Olympics is a time for us to see what the human body is capable of. "Citius, Altius, Fortius". It's a chance to see a level of cooperation and courtesy between countries and individuals that exists nowhere else. It is a chance to participate, however vicariously, in the pure joy of being young and supremely fit. If it seems a little jingoistic to yell "USA- USA" It's way better than trying to impress the world with military might.
skinnyDUDE August 03, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Clever piece JB ....Hard to dispute your point.
Bren August 03, 2012 at 07:12 PM
If you do plan to confront Gabby Douglas or Michael Phelps to collect your "share," please be sure to video the encounter for us! ; )
James R Hoffa August 03, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Hoffa just can't get enough of this ad - every time Hoffa hears Newman's theme from Hoffa (1992) during the final minute of the ad, it brings a tear to his eye. Way to go Scott Brown - well done sir!
CowDung August 03, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Obama's got my back...
Dukeuch August 10, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Boy, if you substitute "US corporation" of "successful small business owner", you'd have a compelling arguement for higher taxes on those entities.

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