It started when the USA found to much competition in basketball and were getting beat, so the rules were relaxed to allow the best athletes in the world to compete in the Olympics instead of the best amateur athletes. I like a rule that is kicking around though that says a USA basketball pla<x>yer could be limited to one Olympic games, and I've already heard the crybabies whine about that ... they said it's patterned after soccer which I don't follow so I don't know ... myself it bothers me to see Kobe Bryant and LeBron James donning USA on their chests ... millionaires slumming it in a sense for nothing more than to satisfy their own enormous egos ... get their faces out there for their endorsements and putting more cha-ching in their pockets.
in the cold war era, the iron curtain countries used to field teams who were 100% amateur, but were all full-time government/army employees whose only duty was to be star athletes.<br />
i don't know whether the chinese and north koreans are still doing it, though it wouldn't surprise me...<br />
as long as stuff like that goes on, it's hard to tell the amateurs from the pros
What I detest are the inconsistent rules. Professional basketballers can compete in the Olympics but professional boxers cannot. How does that make sense? A runner cannot accept so much as a penny for competing and then Kobe Bryant gets to take part in the Games. Ridiculous.