05 August 2012

social commentary Sunday . . . 'silver is the new gold'

Greetings all,
Olympic Poster of the Day: Rome Italy 1960.
Olympic History in Italy: Rome was awarded the 1908 games, however, after Mt Vesuvius erupted in 1906, the honour was passed to London (who also hosted in 1948 & 2012!!)  Italy is my favourite country in the world, i just realised my husband & i were there 2 years ago today, ahhhh . . . reliving our honeymoon.
Olympic Story of Australia: Australia's Herb Elliot, Dawn Fraser & Murray Rose helped our country finish 5th on the medal tally with 8 golds, 8 silver & 6 bronze, behind the power house countries of the USSR, USA, Italy & United Germany in 1960.    

So Australia, we're not winning as many Olympic gold medals as we expected.  I'm a competitive person, yet i think this serves us right, we have a pretty large sports ego & sense of glory entitlement!!  Have you noticed that most of our athletes are jumping up & down with excitement just because they are Olympians, regardless of medals??!!
Sure world champions like swimmer James Magnussen were primed for gold, things haven't gone his way & he's leaving with one bronze medal . . . he was initially disappointed yet still a good sport about it, blaming no one - here's a shocker for the media - instead of saying something he might regret, he said nothing, the media had no where to go, so aimed all sorts of negativity at him, swimming & sports funding.  Even pool-side-commentator & former Olympian Giaan Rooney asked him immediately "what went wrong??"  Pretty confronting for someone who just spent 4 years training for THAT RACE.  He's amazing & swimming against Michael Phelps (18 Olympic gold medals, hello) he'll never get tougher competitor. 
Did you see ever graceful swimmer Leisel Jones in her 4th Olympics (can you believe she was only 14 winning medals in Sydney 2000??)  Anyway, she has been picked on by the media showing unflattering images of her carrying extra weight, to which she said "i don't care what people say" & that it spurs her on.  Then after losing her crown as the Queen of Butterfly, she said "it's a changing of the guard, it used to be me."  Just gorgeous, now that is a truly inspirational girl, mind, body & soul.     
I'm a huge believer that children should have role models who are attainable, like parents, teachers, siblings, local sports stars they have a chance of meeting . . . not a deep, undistracted obsession with a super star, often highly paid & clueless about regular lifestyles.  We love sports, however, no one here obsesses over a particular sports star, so we've avoided children being disappointed in their sports 'heroes' when they don't win or disgrace themselves outside sport.  Personally i loathe people getting paid a fortune just to play sports & being referred to as 'heroes', they're not saving or protecting lives!!  
Of course, i can't wait to watch world champion hurdler Sally Pearson go for gold & the children are excited for her too, but i think winning all these silver medals is a wonderful chance for Australian families to tell their children that competition is fierce, it's extremely rare & special to win an Olympic medal of any colour (it's not a right of passage) & the true meaning of the Olympics is fair participation.  I'm completely over the news coverage & our obsession with the medal tally.  I'm remember the 1984 Los Angeles games (we were holidaying in LA at the time!!) when Australia, still a TINY population, won a handful of medals full stop & it was amazing!!  
Finally, how about the media interview all the volunteers, not the "remember to smile" British guides at the venues, the Australian medical staff who pay their own way to get to London, to volunteer for OTHER countries who can't afford to bring their own??!!  That is a far more exciting story than repeat footage of rower Drew Ginn not winning his 4th gold medal in a row, but silver, which is still, absolutely wonderful!!  Love Posie  


trash said...

The British volunteers are doing a sterling job, not because they have been told to smile but because they are welcoming participants and visitors to the their country; they are performing this with grace and good humour.

Little Nan said...

Here! Here! Well said! Its exciting to watch and cheer them on and feel proud that they are bringing all sorts of medals home....the Olympics are full of the best in the world and we are there participating in those events! Well done!!

Mum on the Run said...

Yes, all this whinging about silver & bronze medals feels a tad sulky and ungrateful to me.
I understand their disappointment, but unfortunately disappointment is a part of life.
My goodness - I'm still buzzing from that mad finish in the women's triathaon yesterday.
And reaaling from the pace of the marathon.
:-) xx

Nicola said...

A great perspective and very well said! Now you know how it feels to be a British sports fan. Usually. I think those British volunteers have genuine smiles by now. It's so exciting to be British watching these Olympics and seeing our team win so many medals which are all celebrated no matter the colour. Hard to choose a highlight so far, but watching Andy Murray win the tennis gold with a hand sewing project on my lap and all the kids otherwise occupied was the perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Posie Patchwork said...

I think i need to clear something up with the "remember to smile British volunteers" THEY are smiling, they are also calling out to spectators passing by . . . to smile!! That wasn't a dig at British people not being known to smile, the spectators aren't all British!! Love Posie

Sarah B said...

You are right, all this winning a silver and then crying for letting your family, team and Australia down is a lot of crap! Did you see the young Aussie gymnast. He unfortunately did a faceplant but then when interviewed was so happy just to be there, commenting onthe great crowd etc etc. What an inspiration! I was so impressed by him.
Oh, and don't get me started on calling sportspeople 'heroes'.
Having said that - I am enjoying watching it :)

Sindy said...

For the first week we had similar coverage in the UK - "where are those golds we were promised"?? Amusingly now that there are some more golds there is more rhetoric about how many of them are from "Scottish" athletes, backing the calls for Scotland to leave the UK. Ha ha. And then the Scottish athletes refuse to sing the national anthem as it is English... Unfortunately medal results do tie back to sports funding, and so there is a responsibility on the competitors to perform to their best to enable future competitors to access the funding. If they perform to their best, great. Otherwise they do have to explain why they did not as they are there at the expense of someone else always. But the tone of the interviewing and the pressure on the athletes is ridiculous sometimes. There is a great deal of enjoyment here amongst my English friends at the expense of Australians however - you said it correctly when you remarked on the Aussie sports ego!

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