Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympics Fever!

I have loved watching the 2008 Olympiad. I always look forward to the games and the sheer athleticism of the competition. But this year I have noticed something that I hadn't in prior games. The tone of this year's games seems to contain a subtle arrogance and elitism of the U.S.A.'s supposed superiority. I've felt this through the commentary and have quite frankly been embarassed at times at the some of the things that have been said to fill time. (During one synchronized diving performance, Bob Costas said, "it's best if the synchronized divers practice together", during the opening games both Matt Lauer and Bob said many times "Now to the Chinese it's quite obvious that this symbol means harmony," "Now to the Chinese it's apparent that...") Thanks Bob and Matt for your accurate reading of the script furnished by the Chinese. But more than the annoying commentating, what I've been most frustrated with is the hype around Michael Phelps, Nastia Lukin and Dana Torres... Don't get me wrong, I know they work hard in what they do and are extremely talented. But what gets me, is the lack of the obvious that ALL of the athletes have trained hard to get here. ALL of the athletes have spent countless hours going over their routines, ALL of the athletes have nerves about this momentous occasion, ALL of the athletes would like to win a gold medal. I feel as if we assume that we are entitled to the bronze and silver and certainly the gold medal simply because we are the U.S.A. In my opinion, there are always winners and losers and sometimes we will be the winners and sometimes we will be the losers. Sometimes we won't get a medal. Sometimes we will get 12 medals. Regardless, everyone who makes it to that level is entitled to an equal chance at standing on a podium and hearing their national anthem. And sometimes, we won't be the ones who get to stand on a podium. Sometimes we are off in our game, sometimes we slip, sometimes we fall, but just as we celebrate when we succeed, we also should admit that someone else was on their game, they didn't fall, and we weren't as good. Again, don't get me wrong that I enjoyed Michael Phelps breaking record after record, but I also enjoyed (possibly more) watching the lesser hyped athletes win their first (and possibly only) medal. Their victory seemed just a little sweeter, a little more genuine, a little more real.

So as the games are nearing to a close, I celebrate the medals that the U.S.A. won and I celebrate the medals that the other countries won as well. I will wish that those countries who only had a handful of athletes will have increased the ratio of athletes to medals. I will hope that those who didn't get a medal will cherish the experience and be celebrated upon return as if they did.

I will look forward to the next Olympiad and hope that the commentators will recognize the dedication and hard work that each and every athlete possess in order to get to this level.

And as a side note, I will never need to see G.W. oggling the women's volleyball team again.