I suspect that to have a fellow country person win makes us somehow feel like better people, which sounds rather preposterous in the cold light of day, but it really seems to fuel our excitement over a victory and our misery over a loss. Reckon nothing's wrong with that but before we're done perhaps we can debunk it a bit.
Favorite Olympic Sport: Sorry!
Meanwhile let's get really going here with an Olympic thought I’m hesitant to offer up:
a highlight of the Summer Olympics since the sport was introduced in Atlanta in 1996
is women’s beach volleyball. Yes, it’s become a cliché to say that, and the sport often gets press for the wrong reasons, but there you have it. Wonderfully fit women, wonderfully small bikinis.
I do have a minor criticism of beach volleyball though and that is that some athletes competing in it only take up the sport a couple of years before the games and yet there they are in the Olympics. What else can you do for only two years and then make it to the Olympics? Besides steroids of course.
Timing, Trampoline and Triple Jumping
Timing is crucial in the Olympics but I’m not sure what I think of races where someone wins by a 100th of a second. Surely the guy that finished first is not really better than the guy who finished second. For that matter, nor is a citizen at home on the couch watching who is from the same country as the guy who finished first any better than a citizen at home on the couch watching who's from the same country as the guy who finished second.
Now if there is television that’s more compelling than the trampoline then I have yet to encounter it. They jump up and down and up and down. This is something we did as kids and, quite rightly, we were more often told to stop it. So basically while I acknowledge it takes skill and practice, I'll suggest the trampoline isn't the best sport in the Olympics. What is the best sport then? Many say freestyle swimming, soccer or the100 yard dash, but they're wrong.
No the best sport is clearly the triple jump
. To the uninitiated, the triple jump is just like the long jump, only sillier. By some fluke the athletes who are good at the long jump also tend to be good at the triple jump. What was their first clue that would happen? And why not the double jump? The quadruple jump? Or the single hop and triple jump?
And hey - is it me or is it odd that dressage is in the Olympics and synchronized swimming is in the Olympics, and yet baseball is not? Is there really more countries that partake in synchronized swimming than play baseball? If so, then somehow it doesn’t auger well for our world.
2012 opening and closing ceremonies
I don’t have too much to say about the opening and closing ceremonies of these Olympics, but then I’m not a real ceremony guy. Did they need that many extras? It seemed as if a sizable percentage of London was running around down there. My favorite things were how wonderfully representative of all aspects of London culture they were and how awesome Brian May was, Queen’s guitar player. I bet when he’s 90 Brian May will still be able to flat out play.
On the other hand, is there a worse singer in this world than Eric Idle? I know that he’s a comic but they had him sing at the closing ceremonies and he doesn’t have the chops, that coupled with the fact that he is
90 – okay, I exaggerate – made it awfully painful. Further, he got lost in all those extras. And did they need to have him sing two dozen choruses of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life?' Nobody can be that optimistic.
The Olympics: Sharing together
Now no Canadian can write about the 2012 games without bringing up soccer. We really hated it when our women got beat by the U.S. at least in part because of loopy calls
by the Norwegian referee. But why feel bad about it? Does it mean we're not as good as all the Americans who were cheering for their team? If so, then do we take a turn at being better when one of our athletes beats one of theirs?
We’d be better one moment, they’d be the next, then China, then the U.K., then Ethiopia, Russia, then Jamaica, France and on and on it would go. So no, it’s not about being better, no it must be about competing as a way of coming together and of celebrating our sharing of this earth.
And here's a final thought:
while Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps and Ye Shiwen and Allyson Felix were magnificent winners, the games are ultimately about everyone being winners, everyone being the best, and the London 2012 Olympics did a fine job of showing us just that.