Some Notes on the Olympic Games

I decided that in the next Olympic game I have to watch the opening ceremony. I found it very touching. Manly tears.

Just a few days before the Olympics started, I found two contradicting quotes.

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part. […] The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee

 “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receives the prize. So run that you may obtain.”

1 Corinthians 9:24

So here are two contradicting quotes. Which one is true? I personally prefer the second. Maybe religious bias, particularly my Christianity, plays a role here, but I formally feel the second quote closer to my current ambitious nature. However, I think the Olympic games themselves adopt both views. Indeed they are competitions, in which the winners will be globally cherished, but they also provide wild-cards so that unqualified athletes from developing countries can compete, in the spirit of participation. Nevertheless, it is still achievement which matters most. It is the world record breakers, especially in the “elite” sports such as 100 m sprint, about whom people talk more. Indeed, there will be stories about [past Timor Leste athletes training using homemade barbells from cement], or [about female Saudi athletes being sign of progress in their home country to some and tradition violation to some others and alien invasion to even some others], but it seems to me that people will only see them like spices on a dish.

I happen to enjoy watching weightlifting and athletics.

One thing that made me LOL was the “participation” of Indonesian and Korean athletes in a match fixing effort in women’s doubles badminton matches. If you follow badminton closely, [it is China whom people usually accuse of doing foul play]. It was always like the world against China, so it did me a surprise that the Indonesian and Korean pairs seemed to follow “the Chinese way”.

Another thing that made me LOL was [this]. No, not the campaign itself, but the dispute. LOL.

A colleague who has experience in sports science told me about the wide use of steroids among the athletes. It is an open secret.

With the loss of Indonesia, the only thing that keeps me watch London 2012 is its men’s football. I support Brazil and Japan, and at the time of writing, they do good. Japan just beat Egypt 3-0, and Brazil won over Honduras 3-2 in yellow-and-red-card-ridden match.

The last thing I would like to mention is the relationship between sports achievement and social aspects. It does me wonder that a country as big as Indonesia only sends 22 athletes, about the same number of athletes Singapore sends, and is even smaller than Malaysian delegation. It also does me wonder that North Korea, in spite of its recent famine and other political obscurity, managed to get at least 4 golds, whereas Indonesia gets none, for the first time since 1992. Finally, I just noticed that the South East Asian record for men’s 100 m sprint is 10.17 s, due to Indonesian Suryo Agung Wibowo. Nobody from this region ever breaks the [10-second barrier]. Also, only one Thai group is listed in [the Asian records in athletics]. This raises one question: is there really a point for a South East Asian to compete in athletics? I might be being too hyperbolically pessimistic, but when a South East Asian breaks the 10-second barrier, maybe the West Indies and East African runners have scored a world record way below 9 s.

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