We’ve just had the latest round of the Olympic Winter Games play out in Korea in the latter part of February.
Some nations, particularly the three highest medal count countries – namely, Norway, Germany, and Canada – found relative success after their long journeys to southeast Asia. Other countries didn’t have their usually expected triumphs (U.S.A.), and one wasn’t even able to compete under its national flag (Russia) – so, bigger is not always better.
The dedication of the athletes, with victories sometimes expected, sometimes surprising, often with an inspiring back-story, continued to reign at the top of the human interest level (‘gold’ stories). Not far behind were tales of family support along the path to the Olympics, as well as in many cases being there in person to lead the cheers, or condolences (‘silver’ stories). Then there were the backdrop stories, concerning logistics, behavioural subtext and potential drug cheating, and especially relevant to the Winter Olympics, the weather (stories competing for the ‘bronze’).
The behavioural subtext issue is always a fascinating one at major sporting events, because it includes the subjective coverage as seen by viewers around the world, and the tendency toward jingoism in reporting, more obvious with some national broadcasts than with others. But then, human response and ratings are not mutually exclusive.
As with any other form of organized expression which includes a more or less clear underlay of art, there are potentially larger, more philosophical lessons and messages for our own lives:
- Watching events live versus on tape delay is a much easier decision when sleep patterns are involved
- Sometimes it’s nice to have to go through a medal detector
- Sponsors, win or lose, will always be ready to move on to the next sponsorship
- Cold is a relative term
- Finishing fourth is an opportunity to practice enhancing one’s mental fortitude, because it sucks
- Sports provides just another example of where social media can be used to distort reality from a wrong conclusion
- Jingoistic bias is noticeable
- Losing a race is easier to get over than losing a gamble with local customs
- A natural outdoors backdrop makes almost any situation more palatable
- Being home to money helps the international prevalence of spoken English