Is it just me, or is the Summer Olympics resembling one of those kids in the days of street lights and “come out, come out wherever you are”, that just kept hiding. I have been waiting since the beginning of the actual summer for this all to start. The jig is up, let the games begin.
Here is my main issue – why am I actually waiting? I love Canada first and foremost but the Summer Olympics has never really been our countries time to shine. 12 medals in Athens in 2004 – 12! Team USA had 102. An article in the National Post today suggests that Canadians should be aware of the low medal expectancy this year. It’s a great read, but harsh – small box of kleenex? Yikes!
I was a smart child, before understanding that you had to live and breathe your country for a span of two weeks and decided to cheer for Team USA during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. These were the days of Gymnastics featuring Shannon Miller and Dominique Dawes that made me want to swing from uneven bars (you can stop booing for the USA now). Point being, if Canada doesn’t produce, are we really able to jump ship to our southern brother?
Let’s get a few things straight. I am not talking about running around waving American flags here, but for some reason when it comes to World Cup time; it is OK for me to be an England fan even though I am Irish/Scottish/Canadian. So why not at the Olympics? I have some USA blood somewhere – the blood is married in – but it’s still there! I also don’t condone that the games are all about winning and losing, but let’s get serious – who ever has fun losing?
What we really should be, and by we I mean I, is proud to just have our country represented by talented athletes joining other countries with talented athletes. This is impressive! Not everyone gets to go to the Olympics, let’s support those who worked hard and made it there. Regardless of whether or not they make the podium – they are the ones who are parading around in free HSBC clothing. These athletes are choosing to be positive representatives for our nation. As the saying goes, there are only two ways you can represent your country – war, and sports.
As someone who is choosing not to go to war, or has not been blessed with the height of a basketball player or the stamina of a track star, I am now wondering if I have to represent my country by cheering on its athletes. Should it merely be about supporting your country? Or should it be about supporting athletes who excel in their sport? Can you really watch the Olympics without cheering for a specific country? And will I get slapped on the street for wearing a Team USA beret (and not for its tacky qualities, but for the fact it clearly says USA on it)?
My American friends will be happy to hear I may be coming over to the dark side for two weeks, especially those in Bejing right now, yet I am sure those who are from my homeland will be less than impressed. Shouldn’t we all just celebrate the coming together of the world?
So let’s hear it. Whether you live and breathe the red and white, or throw in a little blue – this Olympics let’s celebrate countries coming together peacefully (we hope) in the name of sport – and let the games finally begin!