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The Problem With the Olympics
I was watching the Olympics today. No wait, I was watching Olympic-themed ads, with a few minutes of actual event competition squeezed in-between commercial breaks. In a number of events, Canadian athletes have come close to winning medals but in the end were bested by the competition.
CBC then airs a bunch of interviews with these disappointed coaches and team members who try to explain Canada's lackluster performance in these games by pointing fingers at athletes' training, and even their "drive to win". Do we need an Apollo Creed to help get back that Eye-of-the-Tiger a la Rocky III? No, we can all relax, because these people are morons.
Canada lost because the best sprinter/swimmer/rower/floor tumbler/blood-doper/whatever just happened to be from another country this year. Sure, there's skill involved in these events. But winning a few gold medals in Sydney is no reason to expect a repeat performance in Greece. Oh no, we lost! Let's bitch and moan and then try to figure out what the hell happened out there this year, because obviously something went horribly wrong!
Here's what I think happened: we sent fallible human beings to Athens. They tend to make mistakes every now and then, and give performances that can't always surpass everyone else in the world. And when the difference between these 4th place finishes and the medal podium is a few fractions of a second/point, it may even boil down to what they had for breakfast that morning. So all you critics can just shut the hell up instead of yammering on about Canadian athletes lacking either "mental focus", "motivation", "that killer instinct", or "the drive to win/succeed/beat the competition".
Another thing I don't understand is why people turn the Olympics into such a personal matter. Every four years, countries have their top athletes get together to play some sports, televise it, and advertise the hell out of it, while everyone else in the world brims with patriotism and the people of one nation get to proclaim "we're the best in sport X!" But all those viewers watching at home and in the stands have achieved nothing. The athletes aren't doing it for their country - I don't care if they say otherwise. They're doing it for themselves. Sure, what's-his-face from country X had a really good gymnastics routine, won the gold, and we can all feel happy for him. But what has almost every other person in that country done for the past 4 years to earn those bragging rights? Not a damn thing. They ought to realize that they're lazy slobs who can't even match the guy who finished last, and agree that "that one dude/chick who just happens to come from my country really kicked some ass today but it most likely had nothing to do with where they were born".
Cut to commercial.
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