Olympics and Excellence Rant

It was a hard year to be a fan of the Olympics.

“What about the human rights issues?”
“What about the horrible corruption?”
“What about the crisis in the Ukraine?”

They are all really important issues. And dismissing them is unjust. But we are also a society that focuses on the negative. Every two years, I’m thrilled to celebrate global excellence.

In normal life we’ve replaced recognizing excellence with celebrity. And the best part of celebrating celebrity is that they will eventually screw-up and you can watch them fall.

But most of our athletes are different. They’ve spent their live training. They’ve been supported through most of it by only family and team mates. Our medalists may achieve some measure of fame, but most of the 200+ athletes we sent will be getting up this week either planning a new life or going back to training and competition.

But for two weeks I cheered their successes. I held my breath during competition. I was broken and breathless by failure.

Why? I find it aspirational. Hard work. Determination. Perseverance through hardship. Dedication. These are values I cherish – maybe not emulate but cherish.

And success and excellence. It seems we worry so much about failure, we encourage mediocrity. Bah.

Bah I say.

So I liked the Olympics. I enjoyed my two weeks of watching the world’s best compete. I miss its absence.

Two years until Rio.

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