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Olympic musings

August 17, 2008

The Olympics are in full swing and I’ve spent far more time watching them this year than in all other years combined.   I remember watching the Winter Olympics with my grandparents as a young boy, and my grandmother, as an avid swimmer, was always most interested in the swimming and diving.

I wonder what her reaction to Phelps would have been?   Gymnastics were also a favorite for her, and I remember watching as Mary Lou Rhetton  made history.  I suppose she was the media darling the way Phelps is today.   I seem to recall more balanced coverage in previous years.  This year, it seems that NBC provides coverage only of the US athletes competing, and while I feel that swelling of nationalistic pride in seeing our Athletes triumphant,  there are other compelling stories to follow.

That said, I sit on the edge of the couch watching the men and women’s beach volleyball, our basketball teams flying high, and of course the swimming.   China has truly done an amazing job!

Another thing that seems different is that so many athletes are competing on behalf of a country rather than being from that country.  This seems so different than in previous years.  It seems that countries are becoming like sports franchises.   A whole passel of US pro athletes are playing on other countries teams.  Didn’t make the US team? Play for Russia or Germany.   I’m not going to say this is wrong, but it certainly seems a shift from the nationalism that the Olympics used to represent.

So much talent, so much effort, and only 3 medals to be had.  As the Olympics is changing in other ways, I wonder how long before more medals are added to provide recognition for the 4th, 5th, 8th place finishers.   Maybe a new medal line up along the lines of…

1st = Gold

2nd = Silver

3rd = Bronze

4th = Titanium

5th = Stainless Steel

6th = Copper

7th = Aluminum

8th = Brass

Well, maybe not.  Perhaps some things need to remain just as they are.

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