Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Medals do not matter

but manners do.
I have not been too impressed by the manners being displayed by some of the athletes at the Olympics - or the manners of the television presenters. Some of the Australians have been making me squirm with embarrassment.
Crying because you "only" got a silver instead of a gold? Sorry, someone else was better than you. I know it is disappointing, terribly disappointing, but this is the highest level of sport. You are in the international arena and crying like a spoilt three year old is not part of the behaviour expected of you.
Yes, I know there are huge expectations of people at that level. I know they are under enormous pressure. I know that the media adds to that pressure and most athletes would do well to stay away from the actual reports.
The media however also expects to be able to interview the athletes after both wins and losses. Not responding, however you might feel, is seen as churlish - to say the least.
Then there was the wearing of the "aboriginal" flag on a boxer's t-shirt. The wearer knew perfectly well what he was doing when he wore it. He knew it was against the rules. He knew perfectly well what the reaction was going to be. He also knew it would get him the publicity he craved -and it did. The media should have refused to mention it because politics are not supposed to be part of sport but it suited the media to make much of it.
There have also been grumbles and rumbles here in Australia about the way that our athletes have "hundreds of thousands" of dollars spent on their training - at taxpayer expense. Because of that, it is said, they "should be performing better".  Our swimmers were said to have had a "disastrous" day in the pool.
Well, get over it. It was not a disaster. Disasters are earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, famines, fires, floods and wars. Failing to win a medal is not a disaster. Medals really do not matter. Manners - and they very much include how we care for other people - are much more important.


Miriam said...

I didn't see the crying. Up to now, I've only watched one tennis match in the whole Olympics. But are you sure the athlete was in control and could have turned the crying off? The athletes have to keep believing they can win, otherwise they won't. So when someone gets so close but doesn't quite make it, I imagine it could be a terrible letdown.

jeanfromcornwall said...

I laughed when I saw this one:
Apparently an Australian cox in the rowing has complained that the roar of the crowd for the UK rowers means his rowers can't hear him very well. Wouldn't it be just the same if he was in Australia and the crowd was roaring for him? It hasn't occurred to him that it is the same for everyone.

Lynn said...

It isn’t just Australia. I’m noticing athletes from the US failing to exercise good manners also. I am so tired of pushy interviews after an event asking how the winner/also ran feels I could scream. I have this image of athletes qualifying for the honor of representing their countries as heroes. They are showing anything but heroic behavior. Then again, I’m old and growing weary of firm thighs too. Thanks for the vent space. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Hello Miriam
I don't think Cat will mind if I answer this. Your question was a good one but yes, the swimmer could have controlled it. We have actually had three female swimmers in tears and all of them could have controlled it at least until they were out of media range. The amount of discipline involved in preparing to compete should flow through to other things as well. It is poor sportsmanship and that is just as important as performance at that level. Chris