20 August 2008

The Olympics

I like the Olympics. I've always been a sports fan, and I really enjoy watching athletes at the top of their sport.

I like it when my team is favored and they win.

I like it when my team is an underdog and defeats the favorite.

It's disappointing when my team is favored and looses to an underdog.

It's disappointing when an athlete trains and reaches their peak only to suffer an injury that knocks them out of contention.

I like it when an athlete like Michael Phelps sets a seemingly impossible goal and achieves it when many think it is impossible.

I like it when athletes and teams persevere in the face of injury and adversity.

I like it when athletes are caught using drugs and have their medals stripped and are expelled from the games.

I don't like it when teams cheat and aren't punished for it. This is just as bad as individuals using drugs and should be as vigorously combated.

I don't like the inconsistency of subjective judging. Judges need to be able to explain their scoring and justify it. In fact, it should be required. By explaining their scoring, clear biases and inconsistencies can be spotted and corrected. The problem is figuring out a way to do it without the scoring taking forever.

I don't like athletes competing for another country when they didn't make the team in their own country. When did this become allowable? You should be a citizen for the country for which you compete.

I don't like professional athletes in the Olympics regardless of the sport. I realize that "amateur" athletes in many countries are essentially professional athletes because they are state subsidized and don't have the opportunity to participate in the professional leagues. I realize the lines are blurred in many sports. Regardless, I don't like NBA, MLB, NHL, tennis, soccer, or other professionals participating in the Olympics. It used to be against the rules, and I don't think the change is for the better.

Of particular interest to our family is the Tae Kwon Do competition. My wife and kids all are learning Tae Kwon Do from an Olympian from the 2000 team. She was a victim of one of those upsets when she lost to someone she had previously defeated four times. Disappointing for sure, but it is a great experience to learn from someone who reached the top of her sport. Three of the four members of the US Tae Kwon Do team are from the same family, the Lopez's. This is a first in Olympic competition.