Wednesday, August 8, 2012

London Olympics 2012

The Olympic game has already completed more than half overall. I’m not a big fan of sports, but I do like Olympics because it is still one of few regular global events that are uplifting and peaceful. I understand that it costs a lot to host an Olympic, that’s why only relatively rich country can run them, and they have to try their best to make money in whatever way they can. I don’t know how the book is run. I only know that Greece overspent and put itself in debt, China super spent and many stadiums are wasteland after 4 years. London is smart with money, so it should end up alright. Put aside the money stuff like the broadcast rights, ticket prices, official sponsor claims, etc, to me, the most interesting part about Olympics is the human aspects, particular the background stories of athletes. Cuz, they are the real stars, and should be the focus of the whole event.

I can’t recall the names of most athletes, cuz that’s not really the point. My general impression is that those American gold medalists as usual will make lots of endorsement money afterwards, on Wheaties box, Disneyland ads, etc. Chinese athletes have been trained through hell because of the extremely intensive internal competition and the unbearable burden of expectation from their 1.3 billion countrymen. So, they just have to win Gold, and would cry for getting Silver. That’s really sad! They have won a lot of medals so far, I appreciate their winning performance, but actually I would be more interesting to see the performance of athletes from other smaller countries regardless they won or not. Cuz, how often do we see those athletes perform? In spite of the convenience of internet which would suppose to make everything easily accessible anytime anywhere just few clicks of buttons away. In fact, how often do we really click those few buttons? That’s why TV broadcast can still play an important role in Olympics, some of us just a bit lazy or passive to seek out what’s interesting in the event. We honestly do like to be fed some times. Internet on the other hand can be a good supportive tool for us to seek more info on our own after we found something interesting on TV. I think this dual roles model in sport broadcast is very effective and will continue in years to come.

I also like the aspect of culture display in Olympics very much. You can see not just different races and ethnicities of people, but also learn a lot from their clothes and behaviors. I saw many not-known-to-be-very-racially-diverse countries have multi-racial teams representation, not just their athletes, but also the staff team of coach, trainers, and assistants. That has shown that talents matter and globalization has a large role in fierce competition. The athletes’ clothes are also fascinating, usually their color and design represents their countries somehow, traditionally would be in line with their national flag. Nonetheless, as most of them are sponsored by Adidas or Nike, looking at some old reels from past Olympics and compared them to the current one, you can clearly see the change in design in sportswear, particularly more about the cutting as well as the materials being used. You can see how technology is being integrated in the design to enhance performance, maybe just to gain 0.01 sec of advantage that would be a difference in breaking world record or with/without medals. For example, I caught a glimpse of the diving event this time which has shown many divers with some bandages across their backs and limbs, that is something that you wouldn’t see in past Olympics. Those special bandages are very prevalent this time. I wonder what their function is. To relieve pain? Tighten the muscle or else?

Also, the look of athletes nowadays is more interesting than before. Athletes from most developing countries do look very plain and simple, unless it is required, they don’t have much make-up, accessories, etc to tell them apart from one another.  However, many American and European athletes have tattoos, unique nail-paints, and wild haircut to display their own personality. That also shows that the countries that they represent value individualism and personal freedom highly. However, the best of all to me is to see the athletes’ outpour of emotion after their performance. That makes them human, not machines.

Last but not least, for being a dad, I could also use this chance to teach my son about Geography, races, sports, cultures and customs. So far, I don’t think I’ve done enough in that regards, but hopefully, I can make up some before the whole Game is over. Cuz, there are only so many four years in our lifetime.

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