This post has to start with a disclaimer, I don’t intend to mislead readers, who are reading in the hope of finding a new aspect by which to appreciate the summer Olympics, a new personal angle to some unknown (Indian) sports person ( they are all covered by real journalist). This is only for those who are Orwellian, dislike the idea of sports as a professional form of entertainment and think that’ sport’- in the sense of being an endeavor that brings out something spectacular in the end, is a misnomer.
Well to the less than two believers I am now addressing, I want to say thanks.. You probably agree with me then, that Olympics are another form of war, albeit even I have to agree with a lot less meaningless loss of lives and at a fraction of the cost too! I believe the origin of such multinational sporting events was to avert war and still display prowess.
So, people from countries like India and Suriname follow to see if their country can finally compete at any level to the U.S., the Chinese to show that despite being poor and communist they can still beat the shit out of any competitor, all they need is a real devoted kid, genetically inclined towards a type of sport, they can mold him or her into a winner with true discipline and sacrifice, incomprehensible to most people in the western civilization. Russians follow it not because they have anything to prove to anyone, but they are also not going to back out from a gauntlet from democracies!
Without the US, I believe this war too would get messy, there will be no interest to keep it going. Certainly none to make it anything more than just a perpetration of an historic cultural event, that has many counterparts all over the world, outside the realm of sports, like say the film festivals..
Americans follow it, because they know they will win. In this war too, they really don’t have any competition. And in this war too, they don’t win anything worthwhile.. I mean the spectators as well as the medalists, all the people actually making the sacrifices for something they love to do. I am not talking about the financial backers. They always win.
How many Olympic gold medalists names can you remember? How does that compare to the names of your favorite sport icons, in basketball or soccer, tennis or American football and of course cricket or baseball?
At the other end, if it is only about making your country proud and the nations united every four years to stand behind their teams. Last time I checked, participation at the Olympics didn’t stop any civil wars. Neither did the determination, discipline, skill or being part of a winning team make a great politician out of any Olympic champion. Some of them are entrepreneurs and others did enter the entertainment business successfully. Any among us who think that reality TV shows and movies with cameos from Olympic medalists are going to change the world, or even portray the world, raise your hands.. I don’t expect to see any anyway.
What I do believe the summer Olympics successfully do is reward journalists worldwide with easily accessible stories on participants that touch the heartstrings of devoted viewers and start and end in a mockery of the lives of medalists, wherever possible. I really don’t believe that the Chinese gold medalists who sacrificed everything for the gold medal, took joy in the whole world finding out simultaneously with her, how much more her family had given up. Then there is kinesio tape we should all look forward to seeing widely used in the gyms from now on.
It also provides p-roles ( that is, we the people) with something to look at and talk about for the month. More so in the U.S., it is natural that people don’t want to talk about how many medals they did not win, in other countries.
I used to be a (very crappy) gymnast, so I will like to end with the only good thing that comes with the games. The genuine smiles and feeling of pride that winners have on the medal stand. The elite club that all the participants belong to, is an achievement quite unparalleled. No one can take that away from them, even if no one has bothered to tell them, that like all things beautiful and rewarding for an individual, their achievement is not worth as much as they were given to believe it would be. I salute them. But I am nobody and I don’t even watch Olympics.