Tuesday, February 21, 2006

olympics post

This is the first Winter Olympics year I can recall in which I haven't really paid attention to much of anything. I certainly haven't watched any speedskating given the fact that I had no idea who Shani Davis was until I read this Karen De Coster post about him. I guess Davis has been painted by fellow US speedskater Chad Hedrick and the media as being "selfish" and "unpatriotic" for focusing on his preferred event, one in which he had the best shot at winning, instead of a team race involving Hedrick. I not only agree with Karen's assessment of this situation, but also of one of the societal flaws prevalent in our culture today:
Shani Davis was the class act in this brouhaha; Hedrick is a scurrilous creep. Adds Wojnowski, "If Davis is not well-liked by teammates, it's not unanimous. Silver medalist Joey Cheek sat happily with him on the podium, and was one of the few Americans to embrace Davis after the victory."

That's because individualism is not acceptable in today's egalitarian-collectivist society of also-rans and parasites. Being above and beyond your "teammates" is somehow equated with seditiousness or dissent. That Shani's years and years of training gained him that one big objective that he had forever strived to reach is unacceptable to his petulant and lesser peers.

I reject all that prattle and instead celebrate Shani's dedication to success and refinement. Wojnowski closes with a no-brainer: "And here's a newsflash: Speedskating is an individual sport, always has been."

Bullseye. Case closed.

The fact that speedskating is an individual sport is irrelevant to those who feel that one must sacrifice his/her individual status for the good of the nation. I obviously reject such nationalistic crap, which is why I wished to bring this whole thing up. With the exception of team sports such as hockey, the Olympics are supposed to be a showcase for individual athletic excellence and goodwill, not nationalist exaltation and petulance. Well, that's at least what the founders of the modern Olympic games had in mind, prior to the rise of the nationalistic and commercialistic trends that have perverted so much in the past century or so.

Additionally, since when is there some sort of written rule stating that one must root for the "home team"? Despite all the wonderful individual events taking place in the Olympics, the one sport that I have watched a bit of is hockey. I must say that I was glad to see the Swedish team knock off the Americans the other day. I'm also not rooting for the American team to win gold. Some would call that blasphemy, but I don't give a shit. Aside from a couple of players, I'm not a fan of most American players, and there are a few that I flat out don't like. With that in mind, why should I root for them? I'm not gonna let nationalism and geography dictate to me which teams or individuals to support.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us The hockey team that I am rooting for is the Swedish team, despite the fact that I have no Swedish heritage or anything. Why? For starters, many of my favorite hockey players are Swedes - Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom (pictured), Peter Forsberg, and Daniel Alfredsson. I also love their uniforms, especially the yellow sweaters. While most other teams seem to alter their look for each international competition, Sweden always sticks with their classic three crown look.


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