Some thoughts on the Olympics.

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Hi folks! Well recently the Olympics just finished as you’re possibly aware. I rambled up some thoughts on them a couple of weeks back when they were about half done but held back on actually publishing the post. The point of this post is/was not to ‘bash’ the Olympics, although I confess to not being a huge fan of the games, rather to think about wider implications and the fairness of the Olympic competition.

There have been some interesting turns of events since I wrote this post in relation to Ryan Lochte and the ‘faked’ attack etc which has muddied the waters a little further I’d have to say. Although I’m not sure that directly impacts my post. Anyways – have a read and be aware that most of this is just me rambling away in my dinner breaks at work!

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Well. The Olympics are almost half over and with my trip to South America six weeks away have loved seeing the landscapes in the area of the rowing.  It’s absolutely stunning!

I should start by saying I’m not as deeply into the Olympics as many are especially in Australia. It’s wall to wall coverage on three or four of the main commercial channels here. Of course as with any nation it’s particularly slanted towards Australia.

What do I like about the Olympics? Well it is wonderful to see people from all nations gathering together in celebration. The incredible superstars of world sport – Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt for example.

On the negative side we see the feuds and of course the doping. I’m of the view it should be one strike and you’re out. It seems to be hanging over this Olympics more than any before. That`s been the most disappointing about sport in 2016 I guess.

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What I LOVE is the celebration of the little wins. In the women’s marathon Australia for example had three women in the top thirty or so, the highest place 18th. Fiji’s first medal (Gold) brought a smile on everyone’s faces. Then there are the disappointments, those who didn’t achieve what people felt they should have. The Australian swimming team always is expected to bring back a swag of medals and when they don’t people start talking about ‘post mortems’ and ask ‘What went wrong?’

So really taking part is itself is an amazing achievement. To get to the elite level takes sacrifice I can barely imagine. And that is worth celebrating. But I do want to consider the difference in preparation an athlete from a country such as Australia has compared to one from a country that doesn’t have money pouring into sport.

Countries such as Great Britain, the US, China and Australia really do pump an extraordinary amount of money into their athletes so they have the best chance of picking up medals. The argument of why you would spend nearly 400 million dollars to win gold is that it increases national pride and that there is an intrinsic value in that. Paired with encouraging kids to become active and healthy.

Look at it from a country that doesn’t have the resources to funnel into so many sports from athletics to swimming to you know diving, equestrian, and they must think these countries are mad to spend that sort of capital. It’s also fair to say that the countries are not immune from poverty themselves.

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It’s an easy thing to point out though, and I’m not trying to prove a point but merely expressing thoughts. These games have been one of the most controversial, because of all the political unrest in Brasil recently. When Rio was given the games Brasil was enjoying the best of economic conditions, pre-GFC. Today however things are not nearly as good in Brasil but the games must go on! Despite the locals being priced out of buying tickets.

What do the locals make of all the athletes and indeed supporters from the rest of the world coming to Rio in 2016 all at once for the games? It must be strange for those suffering economic hardship. Is strange the right word? Probably not. What is it like when a local in any place in the world who could never afford to travel sees travelers in their city? This is a question we should all think about when we travel. I know I have and I will be honest, I didn’t like the answer.

The Olympics is the pinnacle of world sport, and after Rio it heads to Tokyo. I know my wife thinks it will only be a bad thing for Japan (she is Japanese) and I don’t even know where it heads after that. These questions will still be asked, whilst others cheer their compatriots on.

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Before I go though I wanted to share this little story about the Olympic spirit which to me typifies the BEST of the Olympics. An athlete turned around and helped one who had fallen and hurt herself make it to the finish line. Do click HERE!

 

Thanks for letting me ramble, again! May the Journey Never End!

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