Posts Tagged ‘olympics’

This year, I am watching the Olympics in the United States and I figured out that it’s a totally different experience than watching it in a country like Turkey.

The main difference lies in the fact that United States is a country which aspires to, and does, win a big number of medals in the Olympics, whereas Turkey, except for a number of branches maybe, has almost no hopes of winning medals in the Olympic games.  So, when we watch Olympics in Turkey, the experience is more about all these fancy words such as the Olympic spirit, or the limits of human (referring to whether it is possible to break the world record in a given branch such as swimming or sprinting).  Honestly, it is not that much fun to watch a race if there is no record involved because it usually is the only thing that you could expect to see that could be worth talking about.

In the United States, however, the whole Olympics spirit is about the US athletes running against other world nations’ athletes.  In this particular year, the TV networks in the United States seem obsessed with the competition between United States and China.  Whoever the opponent is, the general attitude seems to be one that emphasizes the success of the United States against the rest of the nations.

So it seems that, now that I’m watching the Olympics in a country who has hopes of winning medals, all those fancy language about the Olympic spirit and blah blah that we so frequently heard in Turkey were nothing but a necessity to fill the screen with some conversation. One other frequent attitude in a place like Turkey is that what matters is to participate, not to win, which obviously is not true as I experienced here in the United States. The ones who win apparently do care about winning! Who cares about participation?

Having said all these, it may seem as if I somehow care about how many medals a country wins in the Olympics. I don’t care, and who cares really? These seemingly noble ideas behind sports – challenging yourself, going beyond your limits, disciplining oneself, competing yet in a civil way, constructing that famous Olympic spirit etc.- are seriously retarded in many ways. They seem to be very elegantly framed or veiled expressions of a constant fight between the human and nature or within the modern human himself/herself. They also reproduce the idea of hierarchy and competition between people. Why, if the goal is to bring together different peoples of the world, don’t we go for global picnics, instead of Olympics? Why is competition and hierarchy the only medium through which different people of the world could come together? Why don’t we just get together and relax instead?   









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