Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fifth place is definitely not good enough in China

Interesting report in the Washington Post about how only first place is good enough for the Chinese at the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

A Chinese fifth place finisher in the 10m air rifle competition was castigated by her countrymen: ". . . Chinese spectators let her have it. "The state spent so much money on you, provided you with such good facilities, gave you four years to train," one former fan wrote on Tiexue, one of China's biggest online bulletin boards. " . . . You disappoint your countrymen." "

If second place is first loser, then fifth place at the Olympics for the Chinese must be something incredibly horrible.

There are a few (somewhat equivocal) voices of moderation: "The People's Daily said that "losers need more warm support from the society and from all walks of life. A little bit of your encouragement and attention will help them out of the shadow of failure, warm them up, inspire them and make them feel more confident." "

While I'd like to hope those terms "losers" and "failure" for Olympic athletes are the product of a very bad translation, I tend to think they're not.

In general, their attitudes seem to be the antithesis of the Olympic Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."


Reminds me of the kind of carping one hears in 'sports bars' from 'sports fans' who've only broken a sweat because they overdosed the chicken wings with Tabasco. Sports fan boorishness is a universal phenomenon I you say, they couldn't stay on Wim's wheel for thirty seconds. I'd take tenth or twentieth place, for heaven's sake.

I got off my sixty year old butt yesterday and put 17 miles on the Cannondale. Since we moved to our house and I'm not climbing 2 flights of stairs to blow my nose and I've been doing a lot of yearwork I'm in better shape than I thought.

Have you noticed that after a good run on your bike, when you get back to the parking lot and load up and head down the road your vision is clearer? I mean, you can actually physically see better?
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