You may well think so based on current news reports in Australia. But is there really a silver lining to our silver haul? Or has Australia really developed an attitude of “If it’s not gold it’s not good enough”?
What do you think? Mark pondered this in his latest post on his Wanderings and Wonderings blog that I have copied below:
Over the past week, I, like billions of others world-wide, have been watching the Olympic Games in London. And I, like billions of others world-wide, have been cheering my countrymen and women as they battle it out with the best athletes in their respective sports.
Today, I opened up my Sunday newspaper to read page after page with headlines “Where did we go so wrong?”, “Water Torture” (referring to our Olympic swimmers) and “Failure to Launch” – a particularly nice 3 page article (yes 3 pages) about one particular swimmer. Excuse my language, but what the hell is happening here?
Australia is a proud sporting nation, but because we have won (at this stage) one gold and 12 silver medals, suddenly every athlete and coach is a failure and the millions of dollars spent on sports programs have been wasted. All of this is emanating from journalists masquerading as experts. I will concede that many of them know much about the sports they report on, but they obviously have little or no compassion or idea of what The Olympics are all about.
You only have to look at the “Medal Tally” so often flashed on our screens. The countries are listed in order of how many gold medals each has won. Countries do not compete at the The Olympics, individuals do. The Olympic spirit is not about who goes home with the most gold. It is about competing at the highest level against other individuals or teams – it does not matter which country they represent. It does matter that they are there because they are amongst the best in the world.
These individuals make huge sacrifices to compete at this level. They give up social lives, employment opportunities (and the ability to earn money) and relationships just to train at the highest level, many for years on end. To say they have failed by not winning is shameful. Some have “failed” by fractions of a second – I am sure they are devastated enough without having it plastered all over news bulletins and magazines as a failure. They should be hailed as winners – just for being there.
I am sure I speak for the vast majority of Australians in saying to all our Olympic Athletes “You have done us proud”. Don’t listen to the naysayers – none of them have won a gold medal. It is best summed up by the quote:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” Pierre de Courbertin, French Educator.
To all our Australian sportsmen and women – you have fought well.
FOOTNOTE FROM ZOE: And we’re incredibly proud of you all. “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that counts”. Making it to the biggest sporting event in the World, challenging yourself against the greatest athletes in the World is an accomplishment in itself.
What do you think? Is it unrealistic to expect nothing but Gold? Are we supporting and pushing our athletes to great heights or berating them for only being the 2nd or 3rd greatest athlete in their sport in the World? Let us know in the comments below and, as always share this post far and wide.