So Usain Bolt is still absurdly fast, he still wins gold medals and makes it look as easy as eating a Reese’s cup with a running stick man on it (they have those), and he still beats aging American Justin Gatlin every single motherfucking time. Gatlin got busted for steroids years ago and has a convoluted explanation for it that involves an angry masseuse. I don’t believe him, but paradoxically, I still like the guy. He seems nice.
Should be two fingers, or even three, for “second” or “third.” Upon reflection, I think part of what I like about Gatlin is that although he long ago pissed all the dope out of his body, and although he would really like to finally run faster than Bolt on some magical day, he most likely will never do that, and he seems to have accepted it by now.
There’s a conception, I would go so far as to say that it’s become a stereotype, that a patriotic American automatically expects America to be “the greatest” at everything. I would conjecture that this is thanks to a vocally obnoxious minority and those who overreact to them, and now it’s become an identified “FACT” that if you live in America, you dig being an American, and you take pride in our finer points, you must also be a simpleton who is xenophobic and trapped in a childlike obsession with being “number one.”
The beauty of the Olympics is that it brings the free world together. Individuals who have given a huge part of their lives to a sport (often an obscure one) come together and see that they have something in common with people from other parts of the world, and by competing, tend to bond.
Take for example Dimitriy Balandin, who won the first ever gold medal for Kazakhstan. He beat out American Josh Prenot for the gold, and he got extremely fired up. I doubt anyone on the American team spit on the floor or scrunched up their face like the bad guy coach in The Karate Kid. They thought it was cool.
America doesn’t win everything. I don’t think most Americans want us to win everything. There’s a few sports where we really excel, but our ability to do so only pushes the arch of evolution further each time (Except maybe for in basketball- The rest of the world really has a long way to go in basketball). Most of us think Hope Solo is a bad loser who has about the same amount of class as school on a Saturday.
When we do go down, I would say that we mainly want to see us go down with a good fight, like last nights decidedly uncanny beach volleyball game.
Brazil’s Agatha and Barbara defeat our beloved Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross at the semifinals in an almost absurdly intense shootout, shutting them completely out of gold medal contention. The match was close, it was intense, and it was fair and square. After three straight gold medal wins in previous years, Kerri and April have not issued a bitter statement, and instead seems focused on going for their shot at bronze.
After South Africa’s Chad Le Clos beat Michael Phelps in London at the 200 meter butterfly, they became tight, surely realizing they had more in common than not. This year, they seemed to be bitter rivals, and the media made much hay from it. But after their rematch? Friends again.
And in Phelps’ final individual race (probably), he, Le Clos, and Laszlo Cseh tied for silver, as Joseph Schooling of Singapore (Yes, Singapore) took the gold. he seemed to be very content with this.
Of course, the next night, the American swimming team crushed it in the relay race. That was a mighty moment, but the bottom line is: We don’t win everything, and we should never want to.