by Kimberly Allen R.N.
The Olympic games are one of my favorite things to watch. It’s an opportunity to watch people from all over the world come together and demonstrate good sportsmanship instead of war or hate – with the exception of the Munich Olympic’s. Ever since I can remember every 4 years for 2 weeks in the summer, and 2 weeks in the winter, our family sat in front of the TV watching “the games”. In fact when I was growing up the Olympics were a really big deal, it was a family event for my friends too. Then we’d all discuss the results and provide our own opinions the next day. Then for mostly economic reasons in 1986 the IOC voted to separate the winter and summer games, so in 1994 the winter and summer games began alternating every 2 years on a 4 year cycle.
Though the Olympic games have evolved as technology and the athletes have the one thing that has been a constant is the opening ceremonies. Sure the production changes but it’s always followed by the lighting of the torch and the parade of nations. I like to watch the parade of nations to see how many are participating. This year as I watched a couple of things went through my mind, one there were some nations I didn’t recognize at all and there were alot of countries this year. My curiosity peeked I decided to do some checking, there are 204 countries with over 10,000 athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic games. Which I thought was pretty amazing cause I didn’t remember there being that many countries in the world. So curious I decided to look further and everywhere I looked it said there are 196 countries in the world. So just out of curiosity where did the other 8 countries come from?
Another thing that makes the Olympics great is it gives those people that think of sports as baseball, basketball or football an opportunity to see that there are many different sports. This year in London there are 300 different events in 26 different sports. These competitors are all athletes and the best in their sport. However, back in 1894 when the IOC was formed the intent was that the games would be for amateurs not professionals. Then as athletics and technology evolved it became clear that some countries, like Russia, were maybe not paying their athletes but they were supporting them and providing them with their training while in other countries, like the USA, only those wealthy enough to pay for the training needed and ability to concentrate on training instead of working could become Olympians. Therefore where some countries could send their best to compete others could only send the best out of those that could afford to try. And it showed in the competition. Then in 1981 the IOC voted to allow professionals to participate. What this did was give those that couldn’t afford to pay for their training the ability to get sponsors. This really increased the field of athletes that could that could produce the best and gave hope to everyday people that if they worked hard enough they could be an Olympian. It also changed the competition. Suddenly the countries that hadn’t been doing so well were actually defeating the countries that had traditionally won all the medals. Though you could see that being defeated visibly shook them and upset them they would continue to demonstrate good sportsmanship and shake hands and congratulate the winner after the competition.
As I mentioned I love the sportsmanship that you see during the Olympic games so needless to say I was very disappointed when certain badminton teams were caught throwing their matches in order to get an easier bracket, This was a first for me, I’ve been watching the Olympic’s for a long time and I’ve never even heard of such an occurrence. If you haven’t come to play your best why are you here? I was also surprised that the athletes that “twittered” about the team that beat them either thought they wouldn’t get caught or that it wouldn’t matter. That any athlete would behave so shamefully knowing that it reflects on their country is appalling. Everyone uses twitter, well except for me, what were they thinking?
There are so many athletes there that have struggled to make it and are there to if nothing else try for their personal best representing their country. Speaking of personal bests, WOW have the swimmers been setting some new records. Including Michael Phelps breaking the record for the number of medals won by an athlete at the Olymic games. I think it’s an awsome feat but I do have a problem with the tittle “greatest Olympian of all time”, time hasn’t ended yet. The recod Phelps broke has stood for over 60yrs, who’s to say that in another 50-60 years another Olymian won’t break Phelp’s record? I prefer the phrase ” greatest Olympian of our time”.
The one thing that seems to detract from the competition and yet comes up every year is “doping”. Could that little girl from China really have beaten Ryan Lochte’s record in her swim if she wasn’t doping? according to the IOC she did. However, as always there are some athletes that didn’t pass the test and were sent packing.
The Olympic games are an opportunity for people everywhere young and old to see the variety of sports available and the different stories of the different athletes that have had “the dream” and were able to get there through hard work and determination. The Olympic’s plants seeds in the minds of young boys and girls everywhere that they can do it too.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.