Friday, August 22, 2008

Winning Isn't Everything - Or Is It?

One of my favorite pastimes every four years is watching the Summer Olympics. I LOVE the Summer Olympics, mainly because of swimming and track and field, two sports I competed in while in HS. I swam from age eight through senior year, so that sport particularly hits home for me. It is amazing how watching swimming on t.v. brings back the excitement of the sport as if I just swam in a meet yesterday (oh how I wish I were in that good of shape today!).

However, as much as I love watching the Olympics, I hate all of the emphasis the media puts on winning. I get so frustrated when a favored athlete fails to win the gold, despite their best effort, and one of the reporters asks stupid questions like "What do you think went wrong?" "What could you have done differently?" "What emotion are you feeling right now?" Well, depending on the expectation the said athlete had before going into the race, that could be anywhere from extremely happy, proud, etc., or sad and disappointed.

I realize winning the gold is a great accomplishment, and that many of the athletes want to win. However, when they don't win the gold, why can't we just congratulate them and tell them "good job?" If they are disappointed, they certainly don't need overeager reporters grilling them!

I can still remember a reporter (I shall keep him nameless), grilling the USA men's track and field relay team after they WON the silver years ago. That nameless reporter kept saying stuff like "what if this person had ran instead of this person?" and kept going on and on about how they "lost" the gold. The USA team was CLEARLY proud to have WON the silver, yet this reporter kept saying they lost. I was so mad I wrote a letter to NBC (with no response of course) expressing my disappointment. I still shake my head to this day when I see that same nameless reporter covering this year's Olympic events.

The other night I was annoyed because one of the woman hurdlers tripped and fell and failed to win any medal at all. Again with the stupid questions. "What are you feeling right now?" "What do you think happened?" Sheesh. Can you imagine? I am sure she was thinking, "DUH! I tripped and fell!" Yet she gave a classy answer and then walked away, only later to be shown on camera crying under the stands. *Sigh*. Later, one of the men was disqualified because he accidentally stepped into another lane during his race. You can only imagine the questions he was asked. Need I say more?

Michael Phelps did something that doesn't happen often. He won eight gold medals in one Olympics. EIGHT. Last time someone won even close to that many was in 1976 when Mark Spitz won seven. I have to admit I was so proud of Phelps, knowing he worked hard and deserved every medal. But one of those races he almost came in second. He out touched another swimmer by one hundredth of a second. Truly unbelievable. Had he lost that race I can only imagine the comments: Reporter: "What went wrong?" Michael: "Ummm, I just won the silver? And I have already won seven other golds. " In other words, NOTHING would have been at all wrong with that. And in another race, an amazingly exciting 4x100 relay, the men came back from behind to win the gold. They could have easily just won the silver. Again, what would have been so wrong with that?

These athletes work their tails off. Just making the Olympics is something they should all be proud of, and we should be equally proud and just celebrate the fact that they are there in the first place. I know I am. . . USA! USA! USA!

***California wedding blog coming soon. . . I promise!***

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Derek and I were just talking about that the other day! I saw the track and field one that you wrote about. What IS it with those reporters?! You're right - they should be more responsible and, I don't know, CONSIDERATE to these dedicated athletes. I mean, let's see THEM get up there and try it on for size. Sheesh.
"What do you think went wrong with that interview? Do you think it was when you asked him how he was feeling, and he punched you in the face?"