And so they start today. Strap yourself in or go hide under a rock because the next two weeks are going to be Olympics, Olympics with a side serving of more Olympics.
Let’s be honest, no-one, not even the hardest of hard core sports aficionados cares about most of the Olympics sports. When was the last time you saw ESPN talking about archery? The two highest profile archers are William Tell and Robin Hood and neither of them have been around for a while.
The modern penthalon doesn’t seem very modern. How about one consisting of Facebook, Twitter, Texting, Skype and Blogging? Whoever has the most likes, retweets and comments wins!
That we don’t care about these sports for 3 years and 50 weeks doesn’t matter when we get to Olympic Time. Then it’s about being jingoistic and cheering on our country. We don’t have to care about synchronized swimming or weightlifting to get into it – just like we don’t have to care about the Eurovision, Miss Universe, Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards to get into those.
That’s why those who don’t care for sports can and do get into the Olympics. Rational or not, we share a thrill when the person or team we are cheering for wins. Come the Olympics, the whole country can get a spring in its step should an Israeli do well.
Every person wants to see their country excel on the world stage but it means so much more to us given our well-documented struggles. As stated in a previous post, it’s next to a miracle that there even is an Israel to cheer on at the Games.
There are only 10,000 athletes at the Olympics. Across 204 countries and 26 sports this is a ridiculously small number. So for anyone to even compete at the Olympics they have to be near the world’s best.
Those from the smaller profile sports have to fund everything themselves. How much would their life change from winning a medal? How much more funds will there be for a fencer or shooter?
What it proves to us regular folk, is that you can’t pursue a dream for the money – you do so because it’s something you are passionate about. They are skilled and talented and passionate about their sport. They aren’t doing it for the money they are doing it because it’s what makes them get out of bed in the morning. It drives them and all the sacrifices and hardships they endure are in the name of this dream.
Too often we extinguish our dreams because we don’t believe enough in them or are worried what other people will say. If you want to be world class at something whether it’s a dancer, architect or athlete you have to be prepared to give up everything else in pursuit of your dream.
That’s what every member of Team Israel has done. Regardless of the results, competing at the Olympics makes every athlete a winner.