A few final thoughts on the Olympics

In a very short time from now, the 2016 version of the Summer Olympics will come to an end. So what will you remember about these games? What has really stood out in your mind? For this blogger from Minnesota, it was a combination of many things. We had the privilege of seeing a couple of once in a lifetime athletes take part in their final performances. We also saw an athlete put a capital L in the word lying. Of course, no Olympics would be complete with a little outside controversy, right? I have put together a list of few thoughts that really symbolized these games.

1) The greatness of Micheal Phelps and Usain Bolt. Every so often, a once in a lifetime athlete will emerge who simply dominates their respective sports. Phelps and Bolt could arguably be considered the greatest Olympians ever. What a treat it was to see a couple of great athletes like these guys perform and achieve Olympic gold for the final time. The number one thing that I will remember from these games is the final images of Phelps and Bolt standing on the podium with a gold medal around their neck. Very few athletes have dominated the Olympics like these guys have.

2) Knucklehead of the year. Every year around Thanksgiving, I come out with my Turkey of the Year award. A particular Olympic athlete has quickly jumped to be the leading candidate for this award. It would be none other than Ryan Lochte. I was thought that Hillary Clinton was the worst liar in the world, now I believe Lochte has overtaken her! You have a certain responsiblity as an Olympic athlete to represent your country both on and off the playing field. Lochte failed miserably with his made up story about being robbed. Totally classless act! It is very unfortunate that his actions seemed to overshadow so many great and inspiring performances in these games.

3) Greatest performer of the games. Here is a question that will certainly involve much debate. Who would you say should win the ultimate gold medal of the games as being the best performer of the games? Bolt, Phelps, Simone Biles? My pick would be swimmer Katie Ledecky. She absolutely dominated her events like no other athlete did in these games. It was she was swimming against a bunch of grade school girls! This is a tough choice to make with so many great athletic performances, but I give my nod to Ledecky.

4) Golf returns to the Olympics. The final round of the Olympic gold competition was about as exciting as any major that I have seen this year. I will never forget the emotion that Justin Rose showed after winning the gold medal. It was extremely disappointing to see many top players bypass the games. The Olympic golf competition might just grow into something huge in the future. What player would not want to win the gold and have the label as the best player in the world?

5) True grit award. I know there were many moments of grit for several athletes, but the one that really stands in my mind was when distance runner Mo Farah tripped during his race and fell. Many runners might just have packed it in at the moment and given up. Farah got up and not only finished the race, but won it! True champions are the ones who can handle a little adversity and Farah proved exactly why he is a true champion during that race. 

I will certainly miss watching these games and look forward to seeing the next games coming up in a few years. Also you have to give much props to the folks of Brazil for their hard work in putting on these games. A job well done! And last but not least, NBC did a fine job of covering these games. I especially liked their little segments on the athletes. It gave us a better idea of who these athletes are and what they had to go through to get to Rio. See you in a couple of years with the Winter Olympics! 

 

 

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The pure sports of the Olympic games

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.