Friday, 12 August 2016
Entertainment Focus: 2016 Summer Olympics (Week of August 8 - August 14)
This past month has been a rather busy time for Carlyn and I with regards to work and travel. In missing a couple of Entertainment Monday posts I wanted to share a mid-week post with some thoughts on this year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
For most Americans the Summer Olympics come along with a great deal of excitement, anticipation and expectation. Given the historical level of success that the United States has had in the Summer Olympics as fans we usually go into our Olympic viewership with the sense that we are going to get to see a number of memorable performances from our countrywomen and countrymen. With that expectation probably comes a great deal of pressure felt by several U.S. athletes. There is a different kind of pressure though that athletes who hail from small countries or less accomplished countries on the Olympic stage might feel. On the whole I believe a lot of the pressure that U.S. athletes feel is either self-generated or generated relative to their sponsorships. I think that athletes from some of the smaller or less accomplished countries might feel more pressure as a representative of their country as they shoulder the burden of hope for an entire nation.
These are generalizations but in either scenario my wish for the athletes I see competing is that they remain healthy and that they represent their countries with class and dignity regardless of whether or not they medal or even qualify to medal in their event(s). I have a tremendous level of respect for any athlete who goes to the Olympics simply because of the amount of hard work they must have had to put in to get to the Olympics in the first place. I've played a number of sports and I worked hard to get better at the sports I participated in, and while an obvious high level of talent is needed, I think that what sets many Olympic athletes apart from the rest of the amateur athletic community is their desire and work ethic. While I never quit a sport and I did put in a good deal of time and effort to improve, I never possessed that special level of desire or work ethic required of an elite athlete. Athletics was fun for me and I worry that for some Olympic athletes the desire to win at some point supersedes the fun they experience in their sport. The thing I enjoy most during the Olympics is when I see an athlete from the United States or another country who looks like they truly love their sport and have fun participating in it. I watch a lot of events and I have seen people who have lost but gave it their all and walked away with a smile. To me that is the essence of what the Olympics is about. Not the medals, but the smiles and the love of competition.
Perhaps that is my view because I was never an elite athlete though? *shrugs* To me the Summer and Winter Olympics are more entertaining then almost any other sporting event. What I love so much about the Olympics is getting the chance to see such a diverse set of people compete in sports that I normally have limited exposure to. It gives me a chance to appreciate the talents, the abilities and the personalities of people who excel at disciplines I am not always familiar with. I love the sport of wrestling and I know how tough it is for the amateur wrestling community to get the financial support necessary to put on matches, tournaments and camps. The Olympics provide a little window into a number of sports that need the support of small but dedicated fanbases to survive. It is their small moment in the sun. It provides an opportunity to the athletes, but also the sports themselves, to shine every 4 years. So I hope that we all take a bit of time out of busy schedules to sit down, relax a bit and marvel at these people who compete in the Olympics. They are old, young, small, large, different religions, different ethnicities, different colors, different sexes and yet virtually all incredibly inspirational roll models for young women and young men World Wide. I am so grateful for the Olympics. What better way to celebrate our planet and the human race?