Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In praise of...3

The Olympics

There’s something about the sight of an athlete on a podium, face lit with joy at having claimed what is perhaps the most coveted piece of metal on the planet, eyes pricking in tears as his/her national flag is raised to the strains of a national anthem, that always has me reaching for the tissue. Isn’t it great that the Olympics which is arguably the best celebration of human endeavour on earth and an event that glorifies nationalistic pride also contradictingly enough, evokes emotions that are common to all of us? Isn’t it great that I can partake in Phelps’ incredible gold haul and in a strange way, be happy to witness such superb athleticism without ever once letting his nationality bother me? Do you find yourself rooting for the Gambia or the Eritrea only because, who knows, they may not even have live coverage in those countries and if you don’t, who will? I love the Olympics and what it does to us as a collective population while reinforcing national identity. It’s a shame that it will all be over too soon. And the wars we had briefly forgotten will resume from exactly where they were left.

9 comments:

shyam said...

Me, I say three cheers for the gymnasts... the Japanese ones, the Eastern European ones, both men and women. Light as a feather or so it would seem, and most of them the personification of gracefulness (or is it just grace?). Why do American gymnasts come across as LUMPY?

And the swimmers... awesome, awesome, awesome. 100m in less than a minute? How is that even POSSIBLE???

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Akira said...

Well written Ammani!..

"And the wars we had briefly forgotten will resume from exactly where they were left." - Sad but true!

swarna said...

i second akira...ammani that last bit is so true. two days ago i watched the live beach volleyball between Georgia and Russia, 4 women of extraordinary strength battled out an extraordinary display of athleticism and sportsmanship, and I just could'nt help but think about the headlines in the papers and the bloodshed back home.
wonder who won the medals though.

varali said...

And the scrawny Kenyans who invariably win the marathons.

There is something very moving about sincere human endeavour, no?

Kalthoon tilakji said...

WHere's the post on Chinnu's madras visit?

Priya said...

Isn't sports nothing but ritualized war? Isn't that why we hear terms such as "killer instinct" prevalent in sports?There is always a victor and a host of the vanquished.

It occurs to me that events such as the Olympics is a great catharsis, where people can formalize their hatred towards each other in a "positive" environment.

Whichever team you cheer for, by implication, you are cheering for the downfall of the opponent. By doing that, you are channeling your own blood thirstyness.

And this is what I heard recently and it really disturbed me - a lot of the female gymnasts don't get their periods because of their low body weight. There's something macabre about it - like the stunted bonsai trees.

Deepa said...

Very true.

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