Karen (estherchaya) wrote,

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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.

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