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The 2008 Olympic Games have been declared a resounding success by China. If one makes this judgment based on the opening and closing sessions, China's gold medal accumulation, and the fact human rights protestors didn't have an opportunity to disrupt proceedings, then they were a success.I wonder how those Chinese citizens who are now in jail as a result of simply applying for permits to hold lawful protests feel about the 'success' of the Games? The U.S. celebrated some wonderful gold medal successes in basketball, beach volleyball, gymnastics and swimming. However, many other athletes appeared to be disappointed by their 'failure' to win gold, and 'only' get a silver or bronze medal.Are we in danger of judging ourselves and others if we and they don't reach almost impossible standards? How do we define "failure" and "success"?

Comments

David Lignell 6 years, 10 months ago

"I wonder how those Chinese citizens who are now in jail as a result of simply applying for permits to hold lawful protests feel about the 'success' of the Games?"There is nothing quite as powerful as sarcasm, whether it's British, Irish, Aussie or American. My Father was an assistant chaplain in WWII. He followed the 1st wave on Omaha beach during the Normandy invasion. He said, and quite honestly, that it wasn't for patriotic reasons that we succeeded, but because we could laugh at ourselves during the darkest hour. The Japanese; the Germans, were not allowed to share jokes in military lines...it was met with severe disciplinary action as a "weakness." So much for morale.So what does this have to do with the Chinese Olympics? I wasn't at a party or any small gathering where we weren't joking at the under aged Chinese gymnasts or the human rights abuses characteristic of the host country. For example, when we saw a Chinese "16-year-old" gymnast falter we "joked," inappropriately, about that gymnast's family being imprisoned or deported.So bask in the opening and closing ceremonies, China. They were spectacular, no doubt. Unfortunately, the abuses of human rights are not as hidden as you would hope. And as a result, you're not as successful as you would like us to believe. You're still a thug in fine clothing. We've seen fodder for propaganda before, and while has offended us, it has given us a good belly laugh.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 10 months ago

It is a shame that we judge ourselves and others by whether we win or lose. I know, for me anyway, to watch so many people united from all over the world, in their top condition, breaking all types of records from many years past, how exciting it must have been for them to actually be there.How proud I felt for every one of them, for one split second to be just a tiny bit better at something than any other human being (that we know of) on the face of the world. What a feeling! I am proud of all of them for all of the years they practised and gave of themselves with time and commitment to excell. And I am equally as proud of the ones who didn't make it to the Olympic finals.Successes should be measured not by our wins or failures but by the effort we put forth, and with how much compassion we feel for our competitors on a day to day basis.

Linda Hanney 6 years, 10 months ago

The cameras and microphones caught athletes immediately after the loss. Their comments might be different if approached after time to reflect. It has to be a disappointment when some of them have devoted their life to the endeavor.This pod cast makes a case for less disappointment in receiving a bronze metal than silver. http://www.thepsychfiles.com/2008/08/13/episode-66-the-olympic-silver-metal-what-a-bummer/

kansascrone 6 years, 10 months ago

hi eileen - so true. olympic athletes are the best of the best and they know it. it's a shame that that can't be enough. i have always thought that human beings take competativeness to an unhealthy level. i was with the hoards on mass street cheering for the jayhawks this year, so i really have no room to talk. we often hear of governments who put pressure on their athletes to reach those impossible standards. it appears that american athletes do it to themselves. wonder why that is?

eileenroddy 6 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the link, Linda.It IS a shame we judge ourselves and others by whether we win or lose, Ronda, and I agree with you and David when you say success should be measured not by our wins or failures but by the effort we put forth.If Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers had stopped after their first "failure" the world would have been a poorer place. They, and others like them, considered their "failures" as just another step in achieving their goal.The danger in putting so much emphasis on success is that when we "fail" at someTHING we are tempted to judge ourselves as failures. Robert F. Kennedy once said:"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greately."I think we have done a great job in encouraging people to be the best, to be winners, and to achieve. Can we truly achieve and be our best if we don't also learn to accept and cope with "failures" as part of our growing process?

geekin_topekan 6 years, 10 months ago

I have never been to China.Actually I have never been anywhere except Mexico.I can't help but wonder what sort of image of America they portray and how much redicule it produces for their daily laugh?"Welfare?Haha you imperialist sponges,who needs welfare?",I can hear it now."You sold your country to cowboy for all mighty dollar?""Americasnso fat,they have special fat stores that sell giant clothing!Hahaha""Only rich whites get education in AMerica"My point is,propaganda is not an AMerican invention and I am sure that their media releases only what is considered relevent material just like they do here.My visits to Mexico revealed some crazy misconceptions that Mexicans have about AMerica.Some are hilariously funny and some would make you cringe.If we are so moved by CHina's government oppression than why not clean up our own backyard before we declare ourselves morally superior to the world.Affordable health care,a media that glorifies education instead of fear.Those would be a good starting point.

eileenroddy 6 years, 10 months ago

Talking about national basketball. I think it's interesting that the Final Four teams in the nation get recognized. They don't ever talk about the runner-up. There's the National Champions and the Final Four teams. At least that acknowledges the achievement of the teams who have gone so far.There's also celebrations for the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight.The big business aspects of sports makes it tough to lose.

Linda Hanney 6 years, 10 months ago

"The big business aspects of sports makes it tough to lose."I think you hit the nail on the head there, Eileen. That even may carry over to the Olympics.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 10 months ago

geekin - you topekans are smart. I couldn't agree more!

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