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Olympics - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
The olympics turn me into a sappy American. The thrill of seeing a US Olympian on the medal block with the Stars and Stripes flying is utterly ridiculous, but still...I'm overcome every time. I'm not patriotic in general. Don't get me wrong. I like the US and all. But with certain definite exceptions, I've never been especially demonstrative in my patriotism. Rather, it's a quiet, introspective acceptance that I live in a pretty cool country. But, oddly, I think I've always been just as proud of my international experiences and my dual citizenship. July 4th doesn't choke me up. But watching a US Athlete mouthing the words to the last verse of the National Anthem is unbelievably moving for me. *sigh*

And Michael Phelps didn't disappoint. Two more solid swims bought him two more gold medals. Yay for him. I feel horrified, however, at the commentators who refuse to acknowledge the extraordinary accomplishment that this 19 year old has made. He's got 5 medals and he has only swum in 5 events. He still has three more to go and he's poised to at least medal in all of them. But do they focus on that? No. Instead they say, "Michael Phelps missed his chance at a record 8 gold medals" and "Michael Phelps' hopes of tying the record with 7 gold medals were stripped away today" and "but don't worry, if he takes home 8 medals, he'll be the most decorated athlete in olympic history." All that does is take away from the accomplishment that he's got. He freaking made it to the olympics at age 15! He's returning a mostly mature athlete at 19 and taking medals home as though it's the easiest thing he's ever had to do! This is not his last olympics! And Speedo didn't make it any easier by offering him $1,000,000 if he brought home 7 gold medals. Hello? Pressure much? Now he's "the boy who didn't win that million dollar clause from Speedo" not "the boy who kicked some serious ass at the 2004 Olympics."


Anyway, I think he's pretty incredible, which is not to take away from some of the other brilliant swimmers (and other athletes) there like Ian Thorpe and Klete Keller and Amanda Beard (yay for Amanda stealing a silver in the 400IM) and so on. And Shame on Me for not being able to think of any swimmers names who aren't American or Australian.

Anyway, more on the Olympics later. Now I have to leave for work.

Current Mood: exhausted a little slow today

3 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2004 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually everything I saw him in before the Olympics was him approaching all this with a fair bit of humility. Which is astounding, really, because how much humility can a 19 year-old kid who's got how many world records really have?

Whenever I saw him interviewed, if he was asked about the 7 (or 8) golds goal, he would say something to the effect of: "I'm going there to do my best. I don't know if I can win 7 gold medals, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I'm happy to be going, and I'll be happy to medal. If I don't win all 7, it's not the end of the world." True, some of that is coaching from his PR Staff (and I'm certain he has a PR staff). But really, some of the hype prior to the olympics is also the fault of the PR Staff. I can't know what was in his head before he went. And if he wasn't humble, I don't have an issue with that. The kid's a monster swimmer who's kicking some pretty major ass right now. I still think it's an unfortunate turn in the media to paint him as the boy who failed to get 7 golds instead of the American who's won about 20% of our medals so far and almost half of the gold medals we have.

And anyone who's got Speedo offering a million dollars to win 7 gold medals deserves to have some hubris in my book. I recognize that my opinion is only mine, and I respect yours also.

Glad to hear that Matt Lauer got a proverbial spanking. He deserves it.
(no subject) - fheyd - Expand
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 19th, 2004 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was blown away. I knew the result before I watched it and had even seen Paul in the tail-end of a press-conference, but I was still blow away with his comeback. I saw him fall and I thought I might have mis-heard everything! ;)

Yeah, I felt bad for the Chinese guy, too, but sometimes that's how the chips fall.

I'll keep my opinion of the women's all-around to myself, in case you haven't seen the results yet.

And yes, I too get sucked into the background stories.
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