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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Monday, February 27, 2006

On America's Olympic athletes

My husband and I were talking about the Olympics the other day and he had a few things to say. I told him he ought to jot them down for me to post. After looking at me rather askance, he said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Here’s what he wrote:

How is it that the Olympics have become such a self-centered display of each individual American athlete’s quest to realize a lifelong dream? Aren’t we supposed to be representing our country here? The “United States of America,” not the “Individual State of One’s Own Self-esteem.” I could be wrong of course. Maybe that fateful snowboard trick and Bode’s continual failure to achieve personal fulfillment do represent what our country has come to.

I am as guilty as the next guy when it comes to rooting for our athletes to “take it” to the rest of the world, to show them how the big boys play. But I do derive a twisted sense of gratification from, for example, when the Italian speed skater knocks off the two heavy American favorites.

The media, of course, feed the hype. Admittedly I don’t know all of the details surrounding each situation in Torino as do our media “experts,” but I am a serious sports fan who also happens to take great pride in our country’s representation in the Olympic games. Last time I checked, the competitors were supposed to be ambassadors of our nation’s athletic prowess. When one of them wins a medal, so do we as a nation, in a sense. We celebrate their successes as a nation and lament their defeats as well.

When Lindsay Jacobellis did her “trick” she did so with the full weight of responsibility to her country on her shoulders, whether she wanted it or not. She fell trying to bring attention to herself as an individual, not as one who seriously pondered the red, white, and blue colors which she represented. Maybe this enthusiastic 20-year-old, who I am sure worked as hard as possible for her Olympic opportunity, does accurately represent what our country stands for these days. A bit of a departure from John F. Kennedy’s encouraging words – “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” I hope not, though.

1 Comments:

  • I told him he ought to jot them down for me to post. After looking at me rather askance...

    Ah... the wheel's of a blogger's mind are always turning.

    Johnny Weir and Bode Miller are now intimately acquainted with the term "choke." I, for one, was glad to see them crash and burn, simply for the sake of their self-centered attitudes alone. Jacobellis, on the other hand, learned a hard lesson which betrays the inherent "hot-dogging" attitude found in her particular sport. Snowboarding <> Olympic Sport (IMO).

    However, how about turning our gaze to the likes of Evan Lysacek who, despite being knocked out of the medal running due to a bug, fought back and performed magnificently during his long program? Or how about Apolo Ohno's attitude?

    And yes, while the athletes are competing for their particular country, the medals are awarded to the individual "person". Hence, I'm less apt to fault Jacobellis (or the Flying Tomatohead) for forgetting her country as much as for her ignorance of just what it means to compete at an Olympic level.

    By Anonymous Rusty, at 2:53 PM  

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