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August 9, 2012 by David Gillaspie


The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat looks the same for every country. A screaming fist pump after a win needs no interpreter, neither does the walk of shame after a loss.

The difference I imagine in the Chinese athletes is their victory means their family gets to keep their new apartment, or other perks like food, for having an Olympic champion in the family tree.

Most of the time sports are a selfish endeavor to the non-sport person. They see it as time wasted, time that should be spent earning money or helping others. These same people get caught up in the medal count because that’s the only competition they understand from the armchair.

It’s their way of participating, for better or worse.

They see one strong armed golden boy American jump up on the podium like an entitled brat and forget what it took to get there, the preparation, the drills, the luck.

They see a tennis player break out the Crip step, the black glove on a raised fist, or the empty podium for rejected silver after a cheated game of basketball, and think how it all reflects poorly on America.

Maybe it does, and maybe it’s beside the point of the Olympics.

JC gets it, but he’s on the ground and hearing it too.

Take it down to a personal level. If you won an Olympic medal, and it was added to the national count versus China, would you care? Or would you be overwhelmed that you had your best day on the world’s biggest shared sports stage and came out on top, or near the top?

I’ll admit I cry just a little every time I hear the national anthem played at the Olympics, every time I see someone mouthing the words with tears streaming down their face. I feel for their happiness, their accomplishment, their win. I get the sniffles even thinking about it.

I won’t be on that podium, but I’m glad when an American I’ve never heard of is. If Muriel Zagunis won gold I’d probably go through a roll of paper towels to keep my house from flooding.

Keep track of medals if you must. Do the math on medals to population ratio. Just remember, you’re no Olympian. If you want to express an opinion opposing the American effort in a public forum, do it without worrying about a knock on the door.

Can they do that in China? They lead in that competition.

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Come with us please. We’ve read your opinion.”


“Get in the car, traitor.”


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