The Winter Olympics 2010: Patriotism

I’m usually not that patriotic. Fireworks scare me; red, white and blue are not my colors; and my voice cracks when I try to hit the unnaturally high notes of “The Star Spangled Banner.” All that changes with the Olympics, however. A bastion of world competition, the Olympics transcend everyday sports fanaticism and tap into something deeper, some forgotten pocket of latent patriotism. Hating the Olympics is tantamount to hating your country.

You can’t watch Apollo Anton Ohno’s 500-meter win in speed skating after falling in the 1,500 without overflowing with American pride. I will hereafter refer to you as Robotron if your eyes remained dry when Sasha Cohen fell on her triple lutz — and then again on the triple flip — in the Torino games. And I dare you to tell me Shaun White’s Double-McTwist-ing, gold metal performance in the halfpipe Wednesday night didn’t make you want to tattoo “USA!” across your chest and atonally belt out “America the Beautiful” atop the nearest coffee table.

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David Yu
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I’m incensed when people disparage the Winter Olympics. Sure, some of the events are a little odd. Who becomes a biathlon athlete? What crackhead invented curling? Why is the two-man luge so inexplicably homoerotic? Nevertheless, it’s the spirit behind the games, and not the games themselves, that warrant the fervor. It’s not just a curling match; it’s a World War, where battles are confined to an ice rink and a well-aimed triple salchow can decide the victor.

The Olympics foster healthy rivalry. It is one of the few sporting events where members from the entire world unite for high-stakes competition, while millions of viewers exercise vicariously through their televisions. During the Olympics, America — a country composed of a plethora of nationalities, religions and cultures — can ally behind the red, white and blue uniforms of its athletes.

So drink the Kool-Aid. Turn on your TV. And prepare to discover patriotism of Olympic proportions.

Comments

  • The Curling Capital

    Curling Rocks.

    Also, biathlon is amazing.

  • Mike and Debbie Hackenbruch

    Carlos,

    A good article and I am glad I got the chance to read it.

    My wife and I have watched and enjoyed much more Olympic coverage this year, and not just because the other 120 cable channels have re-runs showing. There seems to be much more coverage of the actual contests this year and less of the “soap opera stuff” of previous years. Really good stuff…

    But, and here is our rub of these 2010 games versus previous years, so far… The athletes seem to be doing a lot more whining about their individual issues, be it training, be it commitment, be it success(s), be it failures, whatever, than taking about how proud they are to have earned the right to represent our country. It is a constant diatribe of me, Me, ME… And we have not heard ONE of the athletes say that they want to “tattoo USA” across anything. Sure there are some draped flags about, but they just happen to be draped around those me, Me, ME individuals.

    So yes, we love our country, we love cheering for our countries athletes, we cry for our losses and we cry harder for our successes, but there does not seem to be the same shared “it’s about our country, and then our countries teams, and then finally about the those individual athletes” amongst this years commentaries.

    Regardless… GO USA!!!… And very loudly with tattoo’s abound!…

  • so scary

    the olympics are so scary. SPORTS!