Sunday, September 7, 2008

Olympic Dreams

With the end of the Beijing Olympics (yes I know it ended some time back), there are those that are reveling in the pseudo-national pride that comes with your nation performing, however lack luster, at the big event; ecstatic at our performances in shooting, wrestling and boxing, Indian sports fans and the above mentioned pseudo-patriots are going crazy with accolades. At the other end of the spectrum there are the critics that either can’t/won’t take anything positive from it or are just inclined to finding the cloud that carries the silver lining.

The medal trio is enjoying the adulation being poured in on them, while the other athletes either disappear into obscurity or get back to training for the next event of their season. But that sounds just like the India I left two years back, where effort goes unnoticed, hard work and dedication sidelined by the Indian publics need for instant gratification.

But let us leave them for the moment and concentrate on our critics. Just 3 medals from a billion strong? Or how about the fact that countries the size of Estonia, or ones with political strife like Zimbabwe manage to win more medals than us?

"We are the world’s biggest democracy, the second most populous country in the world. Then why is that in a span of 4 years, we are only able to produce 57 top athletes?"

But these comparisons are simplistic. Canada, the second largest country finished just 19th, and Indonesia, with the 4th largest population did worse than the aforementioned politically handicapped nation. This just goes to prove, your size, population or wealth has no bearing on how well you will do at the Olympics or any large sporting event for that matter.

"This is a matter of national shame, an aspect that the Indian Govt. needs to look at closely."

This sentiment is highly reflective of Indian behavior, our need to shirk off responsibility and redirect blame. It isn’t the government that is to blame. It is the Indian public. A nation, taking a crap on Rathore, without even knowing what the reason for his poor performance might have been. And even if there is no reason, I believe our medal winners (and prospects) deserve a little more respect than they are currently being shown

But what irks me more than everything else Indians do is the fact that some of these critics aren’t too appreciative of the fact that our medal winners are getting the attention that they are currently receiving.

"Now lets move our focus towards the sportsmen themselves. Vijender Kumar has already started talking in terms of modeling. Sushil Kumar seems to be completely over the moon. Its obvious that these people have started losing their focus even before their actual journey has commenced. At a time when they should start concentrating on the Commonwealth Games, India's so called medal winners are everywhere except for where they should be."

Note: They are not “so-called” winners.

Well, it is alright when those douche bags get coke and Pepsi deals, isn’t it? I find nothing wrong with the Indian sportsmen and women cashing in on their newfound and (possibly) short lived fame due to their “so-called” Olympic triumphs. After all we are a fickle nation with no regard for our sports heroes. Maybe you will remember some of our athletes that had to sell their medals1 from other events in order to survive. Or maybe you do not. But that is our nature. And it is this nature that has dawned on these three men and they deserve to make the best of what they have now. May they never have to worry about selling their hard earned medals.

But all this begs the question, who is to blame; when our system rewards performances after results and provides no impetus (different from incentives) for our athletes (cricketers aren't athletes in my opinion). I don’t have the answer, and I don’t think Indians really care either. The question will be put on the back burner until a few months before the 2012 Olympics.

But all this doesn’t hold a candle to the final and most absurd accusation, one that pisses me off so much that I believe that anyone that dare make such an accusation deserves castration; and that is for the lack of time to construct an appropriate torture that matches the blasphemy. It is said that the reason we had so many ‘flakers’ these Olympics was due to the fact that they lack passion. To those cricket loving douche bags that know not true passion when they see it, I hope you rot in the world’s dirtiest cesspool

I don’t see how they can levy this accusation, with reasonable seriousness, when our sportsmen who toil in their respective sports even though the chances of any glory are minimal, even if they do bring in the results (Karnam Malleswari won a few lakhs for her bronze and some Arjuna Award or some titular facade). Most of them toil in their sports into obscurity. Few have heard of the gallant sportsmen who fight so that we may one day have an Abhinav Bindra or an Akhil Kumar.

India doesn’t deserve the medals these young men and women bring in. And while I will be hurt if we continue to perform as we have in the past, I believe the Indian nation deserves nothing more.

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