Just To Clarify…

We are past the mid-way point in the Olympics, and I have a complaint.

Let me preface my complaint with this: I’m not usually a hyper-patriotic person. I’m happy to express my patriotism when appropriate, but I don’t usually feel an exaggerated sense of pride during events such as the Olympics. I really like hearing the stories of International athletes, and I’m just not one of those people who thinks the good ol’ U.S. of A has the market cornered on everything cool in the world. But I’m starting to get a little annoyed with this medal count business.

The U.S. typically does well at the Olympics, winning all kinds of medals in various different sports. And just like my students’ test scores, these medals are splashed about the media, like it’s an indicator how much better “we” are than “they” are. I have reached the conclusion that regardless of the medal count at the end of this week, the U.S. IS the best, for the following reason…

An awful lot of American resources are spent preparing non-American athletes for Olympic competition. I’m thinking of Milorad Cavic, the swimmer “from” Serbia, who grew up in California and swam for USC. I’m thinking of Kirsty Coventry, who knew early in her career that her home country of Zimbabwe lacked sufficient swimming training facilities, so she went to Auburn University in Alabama.

I was just watching the heats for the Women’s 100 hurdles–a Swedish hurdler trains at Illinois, and a Canadian hurdler trains at Nebraska. These are just four examples off the top of my head. I’m sure an hour or two of dedicated research would show that quite a few Olympic athletes enjoy American resources to help prepare them for Olympic competition.

I am all for these athletes competing for their home countries, but I think the medal count issue is completely moot, unless home countries are training their own athletes.

5 thoughts on “Just To Clarify…

  1. Considering the resources available to athletes in the US, they should be. I don’t think they are genetically superior though 😉Kirsty should have gone to train in South Africa 😛

  2. A-frickin-men!We watched a story about an American playing basketball for the Russian team, and she has been called a traitor and unpatriotic by the US team. Whatev…if that was her ticket to the games, kudos to her for taking it at age 31. With how global everything is now, most of the athletes competing were either born in, train in, or live in a country different from the one they compete for.One of the Japanese swimmers invited one of the European swimmers(don’t ‘member the land) to train for 6 weeks with him, so even though they knew they’d be competing for dif’rent folks in Beijing, they still trained together.Sorry for the long comment…I’m blogging vicariously through yours since I’m not allowed to have one:(

  3. Kirsty–Kirsty totally should have trained in S.A. Or Australia. 🙂 Deanne–Right! I remember that story about the bball player. If it really is a WORLD celebration of athleticism, why track the medal count? It’s irritating.

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