Friday, August 19, 2016
It Smells like Olympic Spirit, Part II
The only thing I can think of is that Donald Trump was determined not to be upstaged by the Olympics, flying off the handle in public so that the media would continue to focus on him during this long fortnight. Thank God Usain Bolt came along to steal the thunder!
Even more absurd is all this attention being given Ryan Lochte and three other American swimmers who were apparently robbed at gunpoint, which led to Lochte "sneaking" out of Brazil to avoid questioning by the Rio police. I suppose it was the part where the swimmers claimed the robbers were dressed as police officers that pissed off the Rio police. Can't say that I blame them. A rather ignominious end for Lochte, who came up well short of expectations in the pool and out.
It's been a weird Olympics with so much focus on all the wrong things, like Al Trautwig questioning Simon Biles relations, and all that faux controversy over Gabby Douglas not properly saluting the flag when the gymnastics girls won gold in the team competition. Not to mention the endless sniping of Russian athletes over doping, when America's own Justin Gatlin was allowed to compete despite past doping suspensions himself. Like Efimova, Gatlin had to settle for silver in his premier event. So, obviously drugs failed.
Then came the infamous "dive" in the 400 meter race. If it had been six-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix diving across the line for gold, everyone would have been saying how she sacrificed her body for a victory, but because it was first-time medalist Bahamian Shaunae Miller, she somehow cheated.
There were also the charges of sexism, where women athletes were not given the respect they deserved. This was most apparent in all the attention given the women beach volleyball players for either wearing too little or too much clothes.
What makes the Olympics great is that it brings the world together for two weeks in a spirit of fellowship and competition. But, rather than suppress our nationalistic urges and our petty conceits, we put them on full display. You see this fellowship among the athletes, like that great picture of Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse crossing the semi-final of the 200 meter race with big smiles on their faces. This to me personifies what the Olympics are all about.
What's also lost is that Rio pulled off the Olympics when everyone thought Brazil was going to fail "bigly." Sure, there were some strange moments like the green diving pool, but this turned out to be a simple matter of chemistry not dirty water. On the whole, this has been a great Olympics and Rio should be proud of itself, as we should be proud of all the great accomplishments at these Games, not just those of our athletes.