Monday, 11 August 2008

The Brit-Olympics/ Phelps Medal Count=2

Ah yes, the time we've all been waiting four years for...the Beijing Summer Olympics. It's the only time where we put our lives on hold for 2 straight weeks and absorb ourselves in random sport such as archery, synchronized swimming, field hockey, badminton and horse jumping.

To the majority of the world, the Olympics are a celebration of the cultures of the world, the competitive spirit, and the endurance and skills that we hold as humans. In Britain, however, the Olympics are a celebration of British athletes....and that's it.

I found myself watching some of the sport over the weekend. At first, I couldn't put my finger on what it was that seemed a bit off. And then, I realized what it was. The British commentators, won't comment on really any American athletes, except Michael Phelps. You could have an American diver getting 9.5's on every dive, and they would be commenting on their 14yr old diver who was steadily in last or 2nd to last place. And they definitely won't show a medal ceremony where the US national anthem is played.

I've also noticed, that Team GB (as they are calling themselves) aren't the strongest in general...but they ADORE the athletes who are representing them. It is almost to the point where the entire country is putting their hopes in just a few athletes. Hence, why there was 90 minutes of coverage of the Women's Team archery bronze medal competition. Seriously. Unfortunately for those ladies, they lost the bronze to France and all of Great Britain now hates them.

It was almost getting ludicrous. There were some swimming races where the British swimmer would have the slowest time going into the finals and be performing as such during the finals.....the entire time the commentator would be yelling 'Ah yes, smashing performance by ____ representing Team GB. Could _____ jump from 6th to medal standing?' Not to mention that the South African swimmer just broke the world record by 4 seconds!!!

All in all, though, I have to give Great Britain some credit. As blindingly obvious it is that they really only care about their own athletes, they really are the most patriotic country I've ever seen. I think maybe because the country is relatively small compared to America, they really do band together and support their own. Who cares if their 'Rudy' happens to play Badminton? Guess what, all of GB will learn the rules of badminton and cheer them on! Sometimes, in America, we forget how big we are and forget how many people and resources we have to put into our sports teams. Imagine how different the Olympics would be if you were in a country that only had athletes qualify for a handful of events.

For those of you who are following Michael Phelps in his 8-Gold Medal March....2 down, 6 to go!!!