The Gold Standard

10 Mar

It’s 2013 which means that this is not an Olympic year… and which also means that we ordinary human beings will not have to be confronted by extra-ordinary human beings. Is it just me or does watching the Olympics make us ordinary humans feel more inadequate rather than more uplifted when it comes to the state of the human condition these days?

Lately I seem to be  enjoying the opening ceremonies of the games more than the actual games themselves… when normal humans prance around and dance and sing and celebrate their country’s achievements while the “athletes just walk around in a big circle without breaking any records or setting new human milestones that are about as far from my reach as the planet Neptune.

Of course I am old enough to remember the Olympic games where a barber from Essexville, Michigan put down his barber shears, went on vacation and skated to an Olympic gold medal in Innsbruck, Austria. It was the United States only gold medal in 1964 and we were out medaled by the Soviet Union 25-6 that year…notice how I said “we” even though I wasn’t a member of the team in those Olympic games. But that’s the way the Olympics are supposed to make us feel…like we are all (no matter what country) being represented by our countrymen who are competing there.

Thanks to the Soviet Union however, because they were the first country to allow athletes to “work” at their sport year round as members of their military, rather than perform truly as amateurs who had regular every day jobs that they would take leaves of absence from whenever the Olympic cycle came around, things have changed…

Now athletes are professionals and they “work at being athletes” and are becoming less and less representative of the average citizen of anybody’s country, as we move further into the 21st century.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could hold a giant lottery in each participating country and have randomly selected average citizens chosen to then represent each country. The lists wouldn’t be generated until right before each “Olympian” had to leave for the games so there could be no extra physical preparation, thereby guaranteeing that the participants would be representative of each country’s typical physical specimen.

The events could then all be team events, like softball, dodge ball, kick ball, obstacle courses and relay races etc. Then we could find out whose country was most physically fit and perhaps help motivate citizens around the world to get in better shape because you just might be called upon next time to take a vacation from work and represent your country.

And no events like skiing all day while shooting things or swimming back and forth for half an hour after eating 105 pancakes for breakfast. Who does these things in real life anyway?

Now maybe my idea is silly or impractical or unrealistic but wouldn’t it be fun to watch? And besides,…Last winter a 16 year old Chinese woman swam faster than any man, Chinese or non, ever swam before and that’s just faster than…well, humanly possible… so my real point is:

Olympians  no longer seem to be representative of their country’s average citizens which although may be their entire purpose in life,  I fear will soon mean that the average Olympian will no longer be representative of any human at all.

4 Responses to “The Gold Standard”

  1. samsorbo March 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Sadly, no. It’s an absurd proposition, that neither participant nor spectator would enjoy. It is exactly this wrong way or thinking that leads you to believe in socialism, which is just fascism, communism, monarchy by another name. A powerful, wealthy, ruling elite and the rest of the little people shoeless and toothless. Well, we are headed in that direction, and posts like this only edge us closer. How about appreciating achievement and celebrating success? We are all a fallen people, meaning we are all inherently selfish. Why try to fix that by legislature, instead of harnessing it for the good of all (i.e. capitalism)? Ultimately, the only way for business people in a capitalist system to succeed is by serving those worse off than himself. Ultimately, that is the goal and the necessity. Harness that, and you have prosperity (unequal, to be sure, but certain prosperity) for all. That is what created the US that was, and can be again.

  2. 1tric March 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    How true, some countries are definitely producing “super humans”. No matter what we do I cant see this changing. Although I’d enjoy the first year your “representatives” would be chosen. After that it “might” be corrupted.

  3. crankycaregiver March 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    I guess I might be wrong, but I still find the Olympics to be a showing of each country’s finest athletes in competition. These kids aren’t superhuman; they are kids who have trained hard to qualify and willing to sacrifice their free time in order to “Go for the Gold.”

    There is nothing wrong with training to reach that goal. They don’t take steriods, they must be amateurs, and they must work hard to even qualify for the honor to compete! I feel a sense of pride when any athlete (no matter the country) wins the Gold Medal, for I know they have worked hard to get it!

  4. Anne March 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    I just read a blog written by a woman who is a professional in the fitness industry.(http://seashelspeachylife.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/why-i-hung-up-my-competition-heels/) Once she began to participate in fitness competitions, however, she rapidly became unhealthy. This had, of course, been the opposite of her original goal. She didn’t become healthy again until she quit competing. It makes me wonder if this is also true of most of our Olympians.

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