We’re halfway through the Olympics so I figure it’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve seen so far.
Michael Phelps is a phenomenon. When he crashed and burned a few years ago I, like many others, mourned the sad end to a wonderful career. But then, like a phoenix, he has arisen from the ashes and assumed greatness once again. Good on him and good luck to him for the rest of his life.
I was heartened to see the “refugee” team but then saddened when I realised that these wonderful people still can’t find a country that will give them sanctuary.
I saw two young athletes – one from North Korea and one from South Korea – taking a selfie together and thought, “Ah, the Olympic spirit. How wonderful.” Then I heard that some members of the Lebanese team refused to share a bus with some Israelis; an opportunity missed.
I’ve seen some “stars” fail to achieve and I’ve seen some “unknowns” break records and win races. This is fine when it’s an Australian doing unexpectedly well (eg the archery team) but not so nice when the Aussies have fallen short of expectation (eg the Campbell sisters…those poor girls).
I’ve seen the delightful Fijian rugby team celebrating their country’s first ever Olympic gold medal. It brought tears to my eyes.
I’ve seen the first ever female Egyptian beach volleyball team – good on ’em – and have been disgusted that some media people could only focus on one competitor’s hijab. Grow up, people!
And, I’ve seen the American male basketball players. They’re not living in the Olympic village with the rest of the world. No, they’re living on a luxury yacht that’s anchored in the harbour. They’re too rich and important to mingle with the hoi poloi. I see, too, that it’s only the male basketball players. I guess their female counterparts just aren’t ‘god-like’ enough. Quite frankly, I am well over the American basketball players. They’re paid way too much money and treated far too delicately for men who just play a game for a living. It’s time someone reminded them that they play basketball – they don’t heal the sick, they’re not rocket scientists, they’re not working on a cure for cancer…they just play ball! (I’m sure that, individually, they’re delightful young men who are good to their mothers, but even so…)
Rio looks beautiful as long as the cameras don’t head out into the slums. I find it sad that so many poor people were pushed out of their homes so that the city could be ‘prettied up’ for all the visitors. But, I have to admit that Rio is stunning with it’s curving bay and strange shaped hills.
Once again, the Olympics are the world in a microcosm: beautiful/ugly; generous/mean-spirited; uplifting/disheartening; inspiring/frustrating. Let’s see what week two brings.