Regardless of the politics of the Olympics in China, many of us have enjoyed the amazing feats of the top athletes of the world. Personally, I am glad the people of China had an opportunity to feel pride in their country – people everywhere love their own country despite government flaws.
Watching these athletes make their sport look easy may have brought sporting memories of our own. I loved seeing the girls fly through their circus aerials on the uneven bars, which reminded me of the when I was the flyweight Asian girl zooming through her P.E. routine on the unevens – so much fun! I watched the powerful swimmers that cut through the water like fish and think how I once took swimming lessons only to learn how to drown slower. My daughter saw the hurdlers and said, “Look, Mom, there’s that sport that you still have dirt in your knee from!”
Perhaps the appeal of the Olympics is that so many of us have also participated in those sports. When we have played basketball, swam, tumbled, or run track, we have a better understanding of what it takes to perform at world-class levels and are all the more awestruck. And perhaps we have had dreams of “what if” or “I wish.” Whatever it is, the Olympics draws us to feel a bond with the athletes, wishing their success as people and not necessarily as national representatives. You know the TV stations are aware of this, so there are the feature stories about athletes that help us to see them as everyday people rather than strangers. I love the “Go World” Visa commercials, beautifully voiced by the wonderful Morgan Freeman:
“Maybe it’s not where an athlete is from that makes us root for them; maybe it’s not the flag they bear or the anthem played when they win that makes us cheer. Maybe it’s simply because they are human, and when they succeed, we succeed.”
PS: We can all be inspired by this article from Fortune Watch concerning Michael Phelps and his success story.