Monday, July 09, 2012

Olympic Overload

So this may verge on heresy in Australia but the Olympic Games have not even started yet and I'm getting fed up with them already. Before you all jump on me I like watching the Games, I like to see talented sportspeople competing and I've already signed up for pay TV for the duration. What's annoying me is the coverage where athletes of all sports are being interviewed and are telling us about how they are driven and they work hard and that's how they get to represent their country. The implication is that anyone who made the effort could achieve greatness - and that, my friends, is hogwash. Even an athlete successful in one field would not necessarily succeed in another no matter how hard they tried.

The truth is that while we could probably all improve our fitness by regular exercise, successful sportsmen and women are actually physically different than the rest of us. That they build on that is a tribute to them but without that characteristic predisposing them they would not become successful. As a reality check just look at any sport and you'll see that all the competitors have a similar build and body shape. For example you won't see a female gymnast with a chunky, over muscled build so a young woman who desperately wants to be a gymnast and doesn't conform to the body shape will never succeed no matter how hard she works. You won't see a man who is 5ft 2 inches playing basket ball either or a very big busted woman in athletics or swimming.

So let's stop this nonsense about how it's all down to the work and accept that we are looking at people who have a unique physical quality, that they do work hard to capitalise on that quality and their performance is a pleasure to watch without everyone else having to be told that the reason they can't do it is because they don't work hard enough.

*Ducking* for cover.


Graham Clements said...

I agree. Many athletes just are born with the attributes to make them good at a particular sport. Look at Ian Thorpe's big feet - which I wish I had every time some cheat using flippers passes me in the pool.

Another thing is the amount of money a country spends on athletes. Australia should be good at sport considering the billions we spend on our athletes.

And then there is the technology. Cyclists and sailors and shooters and probably even runners all benefit from high tech gear that may not be available to other poorer nations.

So to just say hard work turns a person into a winner is ridiculous.

Helen V. said...

Thanks for the comment, Graham. You're right about the technology and funding too.