Sports World

Olympic Perspective

Gabby’s hair? You can’t be serious. The girl flings herself up off the uneven bars with no fear; she flips backwards on the balance beam with her arms gently limp at her side, muscles bulging in a perfect line. And you want to talk about her hair? Who are you people? Besides, it’s not like it was hanging in dirty clumps or anything. The truth is, I never noticed her hair and neither should you. It’s her toned body you should notice, which she has worked for years (years, I tell you) to make it perform perfectly. And it’s her clear eyes and extraordinary mental focus. I lose focus in a movie theater when someone ten rows behind me reaches into their popcorn box. Listen, American Idiots, we need a little perspective here. Get it together.

Then we need to talk about Michael Phelps, who was called a loser when he came in fourth on his first time in the water at these games. Seriously, the man had something like tfifteen gold medals at that point (and a bunch of other colors too); he comes in fourth at the Olympics, and you are all disappointed? Don’t be absurd.

Then there is a poll this morning on one web site to vote for the “best” Olympian at these games? It’s not enough that they are the best in their respective sports―which is why they are there in the first place―now you want them to compete with each other? Are you high? What, a week into watching the best athletes from all over the world compete in sports that take a lifetime to master, you want to create another layer of competition? Shame on you.

Think of the North Koreans for God’s sake. Supposedly, if they come home without having done well, they are sent off to labor camps. Then there is the endorsement pressure. One hundredth of a point and you lose that Corn Flakes ad (seriously?), which means you will never be financially secure after spending upwards of twenty years working seven days a week, ten hours a day to achieve a gold medal and a little bungalow in the Valley. Then there are the commentators talking about how Great Britain hasn’t won any gold medals, as if hosting the Olympics means you are obligated to rise above your potential.

I’m done complaining, but seriously? Back to basics, people. Just becoming good enough to compete is an accomplishment beyond 99% of the world’s abilities, and winning a medal―any medal―is the moon. Congrats to you all, and just remember that those talking about these ridiculous things have never won anything. Oh, and Team USA? Wow. Wow. And, thank you. I’m so very proud to share the same citizenship, even if that’s all we have in common. You inspire me.