Let me start with a little minimalist workout tracking update. I did 170 sit ups yesterday despite being mesmerized by the Olympic Opening Ceremony in London for four hours. How cool was it seeing London go from a small village to an industrialized city and having the queen sky dive with James Bond?
I generally consider myself a pacifist. I also grew up playing sports and watching the Olympics. To me, the Olympics are the pinnacle of athletic ability. I don’t believe there is a higher goal in all of sports than the chance to represent your country and compete against the rest of the world. There is also a political aspect to the Olympics whether we want to admit it or not.
In 1936 we saw an extreme instance of this where Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany hosted the Olympics in Berlin. Berlin, of course, a long time symbol of communism and extreme bigotry. Adolf Hitler brought his perfect white athletes and sat and watched as Jesse Owens, a black man from the United States won 4 gold medals in track and field. Not only that but Hitler’s propaganda film maker Leni Riefenstahl got it on film. Before the Olympics, Hitler had made claims that his Aryan athletes were superior to ethnic African athletes. On a side note, Jesse Owens was a man of class and instead of commenting negatively on Hitler he simply told of how Hitler passed him and waved to him.
While the Olympics are generally a very civil event, I love my country and cheer for team USA as they go for gold in any sport they play in. The pacifist in me wishes we could settle all wars with festive events like the Olympics. The realist in me knows that this is not possible. The political element makes it seem more important, however.
As a kid I imagined being an Olympic athlete. To me there is no higher honor. Men and women have competed for championships in their sport but there are champions who have never played in the Olympic games. It represents the best of the best in the entire world. Over 200 countries have sent their best of the best in each sport and only one individual or one team will hold the gold medal in the end. It is a concept that fascinates me to this very day and one which I pass on to my kids to spark their imagination.
I have many readers from all over the world and I love and respect cultures from anywhere but I love my country and proudly cheer for them. May the best country win!