What price an Olympic Gold Medal?

posted in: Life and things | 6
One of our little mates coming in to land

I’m finding it hard to come up with much to talk about in this week’s blog. I haven’t seen a lorikeet in our yard for a few days, although we hear them in the trees. An occasional ibis turns up looking for scraps and the butcher birds are ready for a handout. Even our miner bird family isn’t around. I suppose there must be natural food around – which is great.

I confess I haven’t watched much of the Olympic Games. I know they’re important to many elite sports persons but I sometimes have to wonder at the price they pay. Simone Biles, gymnastics superstar, has withdrawn for mental health reasons. She was also one of the victims of the sexual abuse that rocked the US gymnastics team. Naomi Osaka withdrew from Wimbledon and now the Olympics, citing mental health. One of the Aussie swimmers pulled out before the Games because of the culture in the Australian swimming team.

There’s so much pressure on these kids. Byron Heath wrote an article about Kerri Strug, who performed a vault after she was injured. Why did she jump again if she was hurt?’ one of my girls asked. I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering: *She shouldn’t have jumped again* It’s well worth reading the entire story here.

I’ve also seen some interesting comparisons illustrating the different standards imposed for sports wear for women athletes as compared to men.

“For decades, female gymnasts have worn bikini-cut leotards.
In qualifying on Sunday, however, the German team instead wore unitards that stretched to their ankles, intending to push back against what the country’s sport federation DTB has called ‘sexualisation in gymnastics’.” [source]

There are others.

“Two members of the Norwegian women’s beach handball team — which was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms — said in a TV interview Wednesday that there’s “no good reason” to wear the skimpy attire during competition.” [source] Beach volleyball is the same. Women wear bikinis, not (IMO) the best clothing for diving around in the sand.

If the news isn’t about the Olympics, it’s about the covid crisis in NSW. Still, it’s good to see more and more commentators recognising that trying to eliminate the virus is madness. It has become endemic and should be treated that way. Vaccination is the short term key and it’s good to see more and more people rolling up their sleeves. In all likelihood we’ll be up for an annual jab just as we are for influenza. But that’s life. At least that way we’ll be able to rejoin the rest of the world.

6 Responses

  1. Michael Hayward

    You have to wonder who or what puts these competitors under such great stress. To my mind a large chunk of the responsibility rests on the media (newspapers, television and social media) who build people up only to enjoy rubbing their faces in it should they fail to win. Lets remember this is sport and enjoy and cherish the achievement of any athlete who gets to represent their country at Olympic level

    • Greta

      The ‘tall poppy’ syndrome is alive and well. And the press – nuff said. But I think the coaches and trainers need to take a long, hard look at themselves – especially in sports like gymnastics where most of their charges are children. It’s as though they want the reflected glory, hang the price paid.

  2. Monica Stoner

    Not everyone is backing Simone. A tennis player scoffed that he faces pressure all the time…difference is when he fails he loses a game. When she fails she risks losing her life, and unlike too many super stars she was raised to believe her life has value.

    • Greta

      I don’t suppose that would be the Joker? As you said, tennis doesn’t compare with gymnastics. I think he might have been having a dig at Osaka, too, as if mental health is nothing. Sorry, buddy, not true.

    • Lea Kirk

      Ah, yes. Novak Djokovic, who had a complete pressure-induced, tennis racket throwing meltdown a few days after making his statements. Fortunately, based on what I’ve been able to find, no one was hit by the rackets. But he sure looks like a dumb ass now. SMH

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