I don’t know about anyone else, but doesn’t it seem like watching sports these days resemble watching some sort of day time soap opera? The actual sports competition is often overshadowed by meaningless side shows. This is especially true in the word of professional sports. Many of the athletes are more worried about their image or how much money they make as opposed to actual performing well. As a sports fan, I am often turned off by such utter nonsense. You can only take so much of it before it wears thin. That is why I enjoy watching amateur sports so much. It truly represents the purity of what sports should be all about. The current Olympic games represent exactly what that. Just pure good sports competition with so much at stake. A majority of the athletes are not out to win any mega rich contracts; all they want is a chance to stand on that podium with a gold medal hanging around their neck and their country’s national anthem playing.
A typical Olympic athlete often performs in complete anonymity from the sporting public outside of the Olympic games. I have to admit that I have never heard of Katie Ledecky until these Olympic games. Of course, she doesn’t play in the NFL or NBA! Now she is an instant word-wide celebrity for probably a few weeks. Then her name will get brushed aside until the next Olympic games. A large majority of the Olympic athletes are completely unknown to the general public. I highly doubt that an average American on the street could name more than 10 Olympic athletes. These athletes could care less if they receive any attention. Their biggest concern is performing to the best of their ability in representing their country. In many sports, the ultimate dream is to compete in the summer or winter Olympics. There are no professional sports to go onto after competing in the Olympics. The games are their Super Bowl and many have put in long hours for years preparing for that one race or event. After the event, it is on to a regular life like many of us have.
When sports was invented many thousands of years ago, the model of amateur sports had to be in mind. Athletes compete against each other in either team or individual sports with a prize at stake. Those athletes train diligently and hard for the chance to win that prize. Chances are many individuals do not win that prize or prizes. But that does not stop them from trying the next time and the next time. In my opinion, that is what sports should be all about and the Olympic games represent exactly that.