Monday, August 18, 2008

    Is #1 All That Matters?

    What is about the Olympics that the only thing that counts is getting a gold? It seems like anything less than that and you are a disappointment to your team and your country. Evidence this article about 16 year old Shawn Johnson:
    BEIJING – Shawn Johnson came here to win four gold medals, a half-pint, half-Phelps. These were going to be her Olympics, too, the West Des Moines, Iowa, powerhouse whipping her 4-foot-9 frame all over China, gymnastics’ answer to Michael’s domination across the street in the pool. Three events in and Johnson has three silvers. So close, so far.

    ... This is why Johnson was poised to become America’s sweetheart, why all the corporations had banked on her, why USA Gymnastics was so proud to put her at the forefront of its promotions. . . For a gymnast, you can’t come much closer to victory than Johnson has in Beijing. She has performed extremely well, only to watch someone else send her to silver – whether it’s a teammate making mistakes or an opponent having the performance of her life
    Does it mean so little that this young person made it to the Olympics in the first place? Does it mean so little that she is now ranked among the top three athletes in the world in her field? Is our culture too-obsessed with competition and are we passing on to our youth this idea of only valuing the persons at the top of the heap? Didn't Jesus spend most his time with people on the other end of the scale?



    livefish said...

    Henri Nouwen once wrote,

    "Competition is the opposite of compassion."

    This understanding turns not just sports, but work and economy on its head.

    alaina said...

    It's seeped into the mindset of the people around me. I was watching (tivo-ed) the 100M dash with friends. We watched the post race celebration of Bolt and the other medalists. No.2 and 3 were celebrating just as heartily as Bolt and someone asked, Why are they happy? They lost.
    Nevermind they just medaled at the Olympics. A loss is a loss.