The Olympic spirit is best expressed in the Olympic Creed:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
And so how many athletes will travel to London with this in mind? Not many!!
As they say in the US of A: “If winning wasn’t important, then why bother keeping score?” And, of course, this is all that really matters – winning, not whining.
There was a time, before World War II (see the movie Chariots of Fire) when the Olympic Movement truly was (or so they would have us believe…) about fair competition. This was the era of the Amateur; a time when the love of competing was, genuinely, more important than winning.
Well, now it isn’t; gold is everything whereas silver and bronze are, at times, a national embarrassment. Personally, I would be absolutely thrilled to win a bronze medal in the Rubber Band Paperslug Distance Challenge, which just happens to be one of the newly recognized Olympic sports this year.
That brings us to London 2012. Here we are, four years on from Beijing 2008 and the magnificent Bird’s Nest stadium. It will be interesting to see what London, and Great Britain, can bring to the Olympic Movement… the age-old sport of darts, three-legged races, cricket (which, for Americans, is abhorrent because very often no one wins!), steak-and-kidney pie eating contests, tossing the caber (a Scottish sport, to be honest…), sheep shearing, and let’s not forget the old pastime of death by being “hung, drawn and quartered” where you either win or lose absolutely everything…
But, seriously if I may, the Olympic Movement today is all about the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and really not about the sport or the competitors at all.
“Hey there, I won a silver medal for Boxing.”
“Oh, mmm, well done, but where were you during the fantastic Opening Ceremony?”
“I was training”
“Oh, shame on you…”
There have been times, of course, when the Olympic Games were more about politics than sport:
So, what are we in for this year? Well, I can guarantee a few things:
Let’s face it; what we all really want is a return to the games of Rome, the Gladiators with their honor, blood and sweat (and not just sweat wrapped in a national flag). The last competitor still standing wins…
The Olympic Movement will find a way through the myriad of potential disasters in London; the games will be a phenomenal success, and records will be broken – but will we remember the true spirit of the Games? Yes, but they are called the Paralympic Games and come after the big show…
I remain, 800 meters behind the rest of the world, but happy just to take part,
(Doped up and ready to run…. complaints and other sweets – complementary tweets – to firstname.lastname@example.org)