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James' Rant of the Week "The Olympics"

By JamesRL ·
Somehow the whole world has lost the ideas of sportsmanship, fair play and the idea that the Olympics is about competition, not just winning.

The emphasis on medal count is just one example of this. I think its great that Micheal Phelps can win in the pool. Does that mean the US is better than everyone else? If so, then what about Jamaica, which dominated womens and mens sprints?

The athletes are individuals, and once upon a time, we honored them, instead of what happens today which is essentially making them pariahs if they don't perform as expected.

The nation of China is in shock because a hurdler had an injury - do we wonder why some athletes suffer from nerves when they feel the weight of the whole nations expectations on them?

Canada was laughed at earlier this week when it had zero medals and even Togo had earned one. Does anyone seriously think that Togo has better athletics than Canada? Of course not, but somehow the Olympic fever has turned into an ugly sickness.

Getting to the Olympics is a crap shoot. Its not enough to want to win. Genetics plays a factor, coaching, and even now science - US swimmers had scientists analyze their strokes on custom tweaked them to be more efficient.

But in the end of course, all the genetics, coaching and science can't give someone the drive to win, it can only put them in position. And outside pressure can undo years of training and hard work.

We shouldn't judge our countries and our atheletes solely on medal counts. Canadian swimmers only won one medal in the pool, but a very young team scored a number of personal bests - can we ask for more?

When the Olympics were revived, it was hoped that they would be a place for young people from around the world to gather, meet, compete against each other, learn about each other, and dissolve some of the barriers between them.

It seems to have turned into just another competition for gold.

James

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Hmm

by Ben "Iron" Damper In reply to James' Rant of the Week " ...

Sounds like your only complaining because your country hasn't won a medal yet.
If your not there to win the gold medals you shouldn't be there in the first place.

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Innaccurate and incorrect

by JamesRL In reply to Hmm

For the record, Canada is currently standing at 8 medals, including some golds.

So I suppose you suggest that if you can't win gold, you shouldn't be there? If thats the case, then dozens of countries should just skip it, as well as hundreds of athletes. But to be honest, without that participation, you might as well skip the Olympics altogether and just have world championships instead.

This should be about athletes and competition. Not puffed up national pride. I like to see good performances from athletes of many nations.

I've seen some touching moments, when competitors congratulate and console each other, and some ugly ones.

But its more the behaviour of the "fans" who don't give a damn about the competitors for three and a half years, and suddenly have expectations of them at Olympics time.

James

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Hmm, again.

by mrabevigoda In reply to Innaccurate and incorrect

"But its more the behavior of the "fans" who don't give a damn about the competitors for three and a half years, and suddenly have expectations of them at Olympics time."

How can the "Fans" of any given Nation follow EVERY competitor, in every sport, in EVERY town, state, fellowship, common wealth, territory, etc.?

The process of training and the whittling down of the "players" who make it to the Olympics is WAY more than any one person much less a Nation can keep up with. Your expectations are higher for the fans than the athletes????

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I don't think he expects one to follow every last athlete

by seanferd In reply to Hmm, again.

He's saying that the "fans" show no interest whatsoever until the games, and are then only interested in seeing their country's athletes win. They don't care about the actual sport or the competition itself, just who walks away with the most medals.

This doesn't square with the purported reason for Olympic games.

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#1

by mrabevigoda In reply to I don't think he expects ...

"He's saying that the "fans" show no interest whatsoever until the games, so and are then only interested in seeing their country's athletes win. They don't care about the actual sport or the competition itself, just who walks away with the most medals."

Responded to this already. But for the slower among us. You are right, for 3.5 to 4 years I don't spend my time looking for bad mitten matches or synchronized diving, or sadly enough not even women's beach volleyball. However, the athletes do, as do their families and coaches and friends and perhaps even whole communities and/or countries. This plays out in countless ways for countless people all over the world and when the cream has risen to the top, I care a great deal about the Olympic spirit that each and everyone of them has worked so hard and cared so much for. Those who have put so much in to what, for most, will end up with nothing more than memories of making it to the Olympics. Which, in case you did not know is the epitome of any athlete of any flavor of any "game" in the Olympics. (so long as it is allowed. I can't believe they are dropping Base/softball!)

I DO care, as do millions of others around the world. Just because some have cheated and some have shown bad sportsmanship does not devalue or negate others efforts, hopes, and dreams.

"This doesn't square with the purported reason for Olympic games."

I disagree. What's the big deal? Do you always ride in on your white horse to speak for JamesRL?

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He is far to busy for that....

by JamesRL In reply to #1

No one is riding out to defend me, they just happen to agree with my position.

My point, and you can be sure that in a rant, I must have one, is pretty much what Sean describes.

People who care not a whit for the sports for three and a half years all of a sudden have huge expectations of their country's athletes, based on patriotism and "competitiveness". But those values contrast with those of the founders of the modern olympics.

In other words, its great that Mr. Phelps wins 12 gold, and while I'm sure that government money helped him along the way, it was HIS accomplishment, not the accomplishment of every patriotic American.

And lest you think I am picking on my friends from south of the border, in the OP, I was calling out Canadians who were dissapointed in the fact that we went days without a medal. Canada the country is no richer or poorer before or after the medal drought. The atheletes who did not win but tried their best and exceeded their previous personal bests are still valued Canadian citizens, not failures to be mocked or shamed, yet the newspapers were full of dire headlines, and some US reporter called Canada the "Ugly Betty" of the Olympics. I would bet that reporter never competed in anything athletic in his life.

One of the other things that set me off, is one of the Chinese female divers calling a Canadian competitor fat.

It is an honour to compete in the Olympics, and the atheletes in turn honour us when they display the Olympic ideals of fair play and honest competition.

And I'd like to borrow that white horse some time.

James

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Far to busy for that

by mrabevigoda In reply to He is far to busy for tha ...

but not so busy as to only respond to every one of MY comments yesterday? Whatever, no skin from me.


"In other words, its great that Mr. Phelps wins 12 gold, and while I'm sure that government money helped him along the way, it was HIS accomplishment, not the accomplishment of every patriotic American."

This confuses me. Are we, as Americans, to just leave that medal winning punk Phelps to 'waller' in his own misery of accomplishing something no one has ever done before? To not give a hoot that one of "our boys" did it? Just because we do not watch swimming competitions on a weekly basis??? Said it before and I'll say it again, it is a COMPETITION. You would not be as proud had he been a Canadian? Do you follow Hockey (or any sport)? Are there players and or teams that you oppose? It's the same thing, really. Sportsmanship, honor, pride (be it performer or observer) ... It's all the same thing except on a Global scale.

Again, the Chinese, brainwashed drones. One made a Fat remark aboot another Canadian and it inspires such vigor from you? Hmm, seeing a pattern here...

As far as the Media, it's the Media. If you have a problem or rant about what the MEDIA is saying, then by all means, have at it. When you say the "WHOLE WORLD" that is something completely different.

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Well since you asked...

by JamesRL In reply to He is far to busy for tha ...

I did compete in sports in High School, watched sports at both the amateur and professional levels and I was a judge in Ski racing for ten years, accredited by the international skiing body (FIS). Some of those I judged went on to national teams. Some of the coachs at the club I worked at were former Olympians.

I have no problems with Americans feeling pride for Phelps. But recognize he won primarily because the guy worked hard, not because he happened to be born in the same country. I recognize the guys greatness, even though I have no skin in the game, not being American. I also recognize some great Chinese athletes, despite the fact I'm not the biggest fan of the government that sponsors them.

I will grant you that "world wide" was a bit of hyperbole. Do look up the meaning of the word rant, one of the reasons I enjoy the odd rant is that I normally am somewhat reserved - ask my peers here.

But I do see a disturbing trend growing, and there is no harm in pointing that out. I was aghast when I saw Chinese referees fail to discipline a Russian boxer who gave his Ukranian opponent a cheap shot after the bell on almost every round - as the walked away to opposite corners, not right after a clinch. The same Russian refused the gift of a flag at the start of the round, refused to shake hands when he lost.


James

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Well since you asked...

by JamesRL In reply to He is far to busy for tha ...

I did compete in sports in High School, watched sports at both the amateur and professional levels and I was a judge in Ski racing for ten years, accredited by the international skiing body (FIS). Some of those I judged went on to national teams. Some of the coachs at the club I worked at were former Olympians.

I have no problems with Americans feeling pride for Phelps. But recognize he won primarily because the guy worked hard, not because he happened to be born in the same country. I recognize the guys greatness, even though I have no skin in the game, not being American. I also recognize some great Chinese athletes, despite the fact I'm not the biggest fan of the government that sponsors them.

I will grant you that "world wide" was a bit of hyperbole. Do look up the meaning of the word rant, one of the reasons I enjoy the odd rant is that I normally am somewhat reserved - ask my peers here.

But I do see a disturbing trend growing, and there is no harm in pointing that out. I was aghast when I saw Chinese referees fail to discipline a Russian boxer who gave his Ukranian opponent a cheap shot after the bell on almost every round - as the walked away to opposite corners, not right after a clinch. The same Russian refused the gift of a flag at the start of the round, refused to shake hands when he lost.


James

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I did ask and thank you for your response.

by mrabevigoda In reply to He is far to busy for tha ...

For the record, I am on the same page as far as appreciating the individual not the Country. I have cheered for and am in awe of SO many athletes (actually all of them for reasons I will not disclose) I have seen perform this year. Many have brought me to my feet and made me swell up upon the victory they have worked so long and hard for, from everywhere not just America, not just Phelps or Nastia or Shawn or Misty May. ****, even the under age Chinese Gymnasts impressed the heck out of me! However, just because I was impressed by them does not excuse their participation. But I'll digress on that issue ...

If you don't mind (if I have not been to much of a pain in the arse), with your credentials as a judge in sporting competitions. Do you have any insight as to why the judging and or scoring in so many events this Olympics have been changed? I have heard commentator after commentator TRY and explain how the new scoring works but what was wrong with the old ways? Why now, in Beijing?

I never claimed to be an expert on the Olympics and I've long since lost my taste for American Professional sports. But I do follow local, College, and amateur sports for many reasons. I guess that is why I am having such a hard time seeing things that you seem to be seeing. That which you describe to be (the lack of) "sportsmanship for the sake of sportsmanship". Most of the athletes I watch will NEVER be millionaires for playing a freaking game! And THAT is where I see those touching moments of hard work, victory, and defeat.

Edit: for "The lack of", did not make sense otherwise.

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