Let me rattle off a few names here:
What do they all have in common? All of them are gold medalists of this go-around of the Olympic games. London 2012 has been kind to them, and they have walked way victorious in a variety of ways, and not just with a circle of medal around their necks. Although, I will admit, that alone is pretty damn cool.
As I’ve described in the last how many posts, I’ve become quite the Olympics junkie. When the games end, I’m going to be incredibly distraught. What will I do with myself? What am I going to watch on TV? How can I have a reason to scan the swimming crowds for Ryan Lochte’s face without looking and feeling like a complete idiot? When I’m caught Googling him for the 50th time, I will no longer have an excuse as to why I’m staring at his beautiful, cool blue eyes.
But this is not my personal crisis at the moment.
What has been equally rewarding of watching these Olympics is not just finding new eye candy to drool over. It’s seeing others openly bare their pride for their country. They’re up on those podiums, accepting the highest honor their sport can offer, and all in the name of their country. Talk about patriotism! It’s not just proving you’re the best in any given event. The World championship is slightly different from the Olympics when it comes down to what winning means to an athlete. Just like when I played tennis; winning the conference has a whole new feeling compared to winning a home meet. Or winning on Parent’s Night held a different significance than winning during any regular home match.
There’s a difference in pride, and there’s a difference in who’s watching you compete.
The Olympics? It’s the equivalent to the Hunger Games of Panem (minus the children killing children part.) The whole world is watching. Every play, every move, and every word you speak, is heard by everyone around the globe. You’re representing yourself, yes, along with your athletic capabilities. But you’re also representing your country. That is a huge responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. It’s an even bigger deal when the whole world is ready to criticise something, anything.
It doesn’t matter from what country you hail. Somebody is going to have a negative comment or two, whether you were pitch perfect or not. The United States is a prime example, and it’s a bit tricky when it comes to the US of A. I can’t say we’re hugely popular with many people in the world right now. A foreigner might not have a problem with me until I mention the small detail that I’m an American. Not everyone is like this, but many countries and their people are not too fond of us.
Regardless, I am proud to call myself an American. I don’t care what other countries say. What my government doesn’t isn’t necessarily a reflection of my personal beliefs, or what I feel is the right thing to do. Convincing many of that idea is a battle royale of its own, but we’ll leave that topic of conversation for another time and place.
“The harder they hit, the more encouraged I get.”
The wonderful words of Hillary Clinton, our current U.S. Secretary of State. Could we change her words up a tiny bit to make it relevant to the Olympics? Can we say the more medals we win, the bigger the target on our backs? So why add fuel to the fire by not showing appreciation for the country you stand there and represent?
Here’s what I’m getting at. There are countries competing in the Olympics who do not like us as a nation for many, many reasons, whatever they may be. If I were competing in the Olympics, I honestly would want to work as an ambassador for my country, not just for my sporting event and my accomplishments. Winning the gold is a huge deal, and when I’m standing on that podium (this is my fantasy, so back off!), I want others to see not only the pride and hard work I have invested in this sport, but I also want the world to see how happy I am to represent my country in these world games.
With that in mind, here’s my personal crisis of the day: Why are our athletes not showing that pride on the podium? How can they show it, you might ask. For starters, you might want to smile and actually look at the flag of your nation being raised in your honor. Maybe, just maybe, you could mouth the words to your national anthem. If for some reason you have no clue what the words are, try mouthing the same thing over and over again. I don’t even care if its Old McDonald Had a Farm. Just make your lips move so we think you’re singing along! It has become my biggest pet peeve to see our elite athletes not even attempt to show their appreciation for their nation or the support of their fellow countrymen. I know for a fact A LOT of us are cheering you on from across the Atlantic. The least you can do is smile and let us know you’re grateful.
As much as I rag on Michael Phelps for being slightly an ogre and how Ryan Lochte beats him hands down in the body department, he still stood with his eyes fixed on the American flag as he received his 20th medal the other night, and, dare I mention it, he smiled so broadly and so happily when the final notes rang out, I just know he was feeling a rush of emotions only he could understand. Even his mother stood in the audience singing her heart out.
Ryan Lochte. You already know I love him, but my respect for him leaped meters when I saw him singing to the national anthem when he beat Phelps in what already seems like ages ago earlier in the Olympic games this past week.
Serena Williams. She stood proudly with the American flag behind her this morning as she won her first gold medal in the singles’ division for tennis. As for how she spoke and acted during her first interview right after the win, that’s a whole other story. What I’ll say now is this: You’ve been playing this game for a long, long time. Since you were a teenager and you are now in your 30s. When you win a major title or competition, I don’t think you should be acting like a 13-year-old still. Accept the win with pride, grace, and dignity. Don’t stand there and say, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG THE GOOOOOOLD” the whole time. Anyways, I’ll rant about her later.
The one I do want to rant about is Gabby Douglas. I am incredibly happy she won the women’s all-around gymnastics competition. I think it’s great, especially with how difficult the sport is. I would certainly fall off that balance beam if I tried doing flips and kicks like that. But when it came to the medal stand, she looked anything but enthused. When the national anthem played? Her eyes were everywhere BUT on the American flag. While I understand how enormous that moment would feel, I’d like to compare Douglas to Missy Franklin. Both were first time Olympians and both girls are incredibly young (Douglas is 16 and Franklin is 17), but yet Franklin glued her eyes that flag and she sang her little winning heart out. When the anthem ended, she wiped away a few tears that managed to escape. You can’t tell me Douglas was too distracted because of her age to pay attention to what was happening. Her eyes were everywhere, she didn’t smile once during the entire 2 minute song, and don’t even ask if she sang.
She didn’t. If I had to put a word on her, it would be stoic, but not really in a good way. Honestly? She almost looked bored.
Her teammate who didn’t qualify for the all-around competition looked far more excited for Douglas’ win than Douglas herself. And let me also add that she stood out like a sore thumb at the team competition when the U.S. took gold, and all of her teammates are staring at the flag, singing to glory to their nation. Just sayin’…
To be fair, Douglas isn’t the only one who has done this. There are other athletes I’ve watching, and not just ones hailing from the USA, but from other countries, too. And while I might not like these other counties as much as my own, I still think they should put in the effort to at least pretend to acknowledge who and what they represent while standing with an honoring medal around their neck.
Enough of the serious chatter. I’m ready to share my Fabulous Friday with you, and here is what made my day better than average to start off my weekend:
Fabulous Baby Gear:
Fabulous Sweat Top:
Fabulous Sexy Time:
Fabulous Kick-Ass Lady:
Fabulous Adult Living:
Fabulous Themed Wedding:
I hope your weekend is finding you well and putting you into new adventures like never before. Me? I’ve been working like a dog. I’ve been putting in more hours now that I have a full-time job about to start versus when I was simply looking. Funny how the worlds works.
Happy Olympics Weekend: Take 2!