What really counts in the Olympics?

6 Aug

Photo: Bleacher Report

I’ve been watching the Olympics this year much more than in the past. My daughter does gymnastics and I run. She also did a track camp this summer, so we’re grabbing the highlights every night and watching the things we missed OnDemand. Last night, we watched Mo Farah win the men’s 10K, then do the happy dance with Galen Rupp. It was awesome.

Loved watching the women’s gymnastics and the swimming. We even watched a little women’s boxing, a match between a Chinese woman and one from Kazahkstan. We’ve seen Brits, Romanians and Russians win and been inspired by South Africans, Germans and Jamaicans.

All that good feeling goes out the window when the medal count begins. Is it only my country, or does every country keep count of how many medals they’ve won? Sure, my country wins a lot of medals, but my country is huge. China wins a lot of medals, too; they invented huge along with noodles and fireworks. I know it’s very American to want the best, to want to be the best and to think we are the best, even when we aren’t. After Mckayla Maroney landed on her butt in the vault and the gold medal went to Sandra Raluca Izbasa of Romania, the US announcers were still proclaiming Maroney the best gymnast in the world on vault.

Well, Maroney may be the best in the world on most days, but at the Olympics she sat down and her competition didn’t. I would have liked a little more focus on the winner, a little slow mo’ on her performance. But I got shots of a stoic Maroney and then a break-away to the anchor desk for a recap of my country’s race to win the most medals.

What’s it like in your country? Daily medal counts? Or do you get to savor the Olympic moments of all the champions? If you’re American, do you care about how many medals “we” win? Just wondering.

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11 Responses to “What really counts in the Olympics?”

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge August 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    The network/anchor people need to stop. They are so annoying. Focus more on achievements and good sportsmanship. Focus on accurate observations about skills displayed. That’s when slow motion should be used: to show excellence – to inspire. And get the cameras out of those kids’ faces when they are having a hard time.
    The medal count is stupid and not what Olympic games are supposed to be about.
    Well done post

    • jmlindy422 August 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Thanks! I did enjoy seeing a superimposed comparison of Maroney over a Japanese male athlete doing the same vault. Of course, no mention was made of the fact that the male athlete had a lot more weight to propel into space!

  2. theartistryofthebipolarbrain August 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I think that it’s about medal counts no matter where you live. It might be about winning one for the first time (at all or in an event) or the sheer number overall, but it’s a competition at it’s heart. Which makes it about winning. I do think the Olympics does a great job of making it about winning against odds as much as other competitors, though.

    I think that watching American television stations is definitely going to result in a bias toward American athletes. No matter how unbiased *any* newcaster or sportscaster wants to be, there is always some internal bias, whether it’s for American athletes or against the Boston Red Sox.

    I haven’t been watching, but some of my blog friends have been posting info and I do get highlights periodically. 🙂

    • jmlindy422 August 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Well, it definitely is about winning, but I enjoy seeing lots of different people win. I regularly read Runner’s World and so I’m familiar with a lot of the runner’s names from around the world. It makes it more fun, in my mind, when I know someone besides just the Americans. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Madame Weebles August 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    I don’t care how many medals the US wins. I like it when other countries win for a change. Although I do like Gabby Douglas and some of the other American athletes and have been rooting for them. But today I was watching some skeet shooting and there were no Americans competing at all. It was fun to root for someone from Croatia, or Kuwait, or wherever.

    • jmlindy422 August 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      That’s what I’m talking about! I would love to see skeet shooting. I love it when things blow up in mid-air.

  4. The Waiting August 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    I don’t keep track of how many medals athletes from the US win. To me, racking up medals is not what makes the Olympics appealing; it’s about watching sports other than football and basketball on TV. On a related note, I really liked watching the last World Cup from Korea because I got to see lots of countries compete that I would have never seen in America.

    • jmlindy422 August 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      It is fun to watch something other than fb/bb. I almost never watch sports, except when the Bulls have Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and are coached by Phil Jackson. The World Cup was fun for me since so many of my students are from India; they love cricket, too. Now, I want to see some cricket!

  5. Dawn August 7, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I am proud of our Olympic Athletes and I do thrill when one of them wins a medal though I am not interested in world domination. I think we have many advantages that some of these athletes don’t and we should be grateful not gloating.

    • jmlindy422 August 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Dawn, thanks for dropping by. Your comment hits on the appearance in the Olympics of the South African runner with prosthetic legs. He’s won gold in the Paralympics, but wasn’t able to compete in the Olympics until now. Medal be damned, he just wanted to compete like any athlete. It was so cool to watch him and to see winner trade bibs with him at the end of the race. Some had thought he shouldn’t be there because he high-tech legs would give him an advantage but the other athletes accepted him.

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