August 21st, 2016 by Jan

Glory is an honour won by a notable achievement. It should be its own reward. But today, I’m watching the Olympics, and it doesn’t seem to be enough. Perhaps not being a world class athlete I don’t understand what is really at stake. What I can say is I admire the athletes strength, and skill, almost as much as the extra media bullshit they have to put up with.

That being said, I just saw an Olympic athlete being interviewed. She was in tears, bawling her eyes out saying, “That wasn’t supposed to happen! We were supposed to win!” She went on and on with, “I don’t understand, WE were supposed to WIN!”

Watching the Olympics is really only fun for me because we live in Canada. We have coverage on several channels and while CBC will spotlight a Canadian athlete, more so they show as much of the Olympics they can, no matter the country or favourite.

Like right now, as I write this, flipping around I can watch The Netherlands playing Great Britain in field hockey, that horse jumping sport, wrestling is also on, as is synchronized swimming. On another channel: Taekwondo, soccer and speed walking! I love watching speed walking! One more station has badminton, water polo, judo, boxing and BMX. (Those BMXers are crazy!)

NBC is showing America play basketball against another team. The commentary is all about the USA. I don’t watch that channel much.

My choice is usually the station without commentary. Right now that is showing the mens platform diving. FYI, the guy from Puerto Rico is easy to watch and well, the Chinese are unreal and, the Canadian is doing pretty darn good! Actually all the divers are. It is so nice NOT to have some commentator saying, “Oh, that’s too bad, he splashed.” Instead we hear the crowds cheering and the announcer at the pool call out scores. I get to enjoy their skill and finesse without being told that that splash was too big.

The no commentary station is my preference ever since I heard a commentator on a different station say, “if he is going to win this, he is going to have to run faster than everyone else!” Really? That’s what it takes to win —running the fastest!

Today, Olympic glory comes with money, perhaps that is why some athletes get in a tangle. Their livelihood is at stake. How much depends on where you are from.

For instance, if you bring home gold and you are from Singapore, you get $753,000. Cash. Russians get $61,000, Canadians get $15,000 per gold medal but, winners from the UK, receive bupkiss.

Americans get a $25,000 golden bonus, but also sponsors will pay them millions to appear on cereal boxes or wear clothes with a swishy logo.  While Gabby Douglas will get 3 million in endorsements and has to put up with a lot of crap. Michael Phelps has a reported net worth of 55 million bucks and can smoke all the pot he wants to. Granted, twenty something gold medals is nothing to sneeze at, but for the most part, when it comes to sports and money, it’s better to be a white male athlete in the states (Looking at you Lochte), than a woman of colour anywhere else in the world, no mattered how accomplished.

Everyone likes a good sport, win or lose. And we all take great delight in the tear jerking, helping hands, of one athlete sacrificing their race, to help the one who fell. But, with so much on the line, for so few, it is easy to see how some athletes can be sore losers or maybe I should say, really disappointed ones.

Perhaps a commentator could tell the girl who was crying that, she didn’t win — even though she was supposed to, because someone else ran faster than her.

For me, I continue to have a love/hate thing with the Olympics. I love watching amazing people do amazing physical things. Making it to the Olympics is incredible. I’d love to see true glory given for participation.

Helen Maroulis’s response to Ryan Lochte overshadowing her historic gold medal pretty well sums up this topic.

“I didn’t come here to win a gold medal for the media attention,” she said. “I didn’t come here to win a gold medal in order to find something within myself or some peace within myself. I found that self-worth before I stepped on the mat. I think that’s why I won the gold medal.
“Yesterday was about stepping on the mat and just wrestling to the best of my ability and really taking joy in what I do. If they covered Ryan Lochte over my match, well, I think that’s a poor decision on their part, but I’m not running the show. My job is to be a wrestler, and I stepped on the mat and did what I needed to do. I’m happy with the results.”

While Lochte gets what he gets, Maroulis wins Olympic Glory!


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