“So you don’t love your own country.”
That was the response I got when I made the statement that representing another country would be really cool.
Although my response to his statement was direct and to the point, I think he was too busy being Joe America to fully comprehend my reply. Not that my reply needed extensive explanation because this guy spends his time seeking out joyful posts and regurgitating on them. You know that guy; the poor imbecile who woke up on the wrong side of town. Not happy unless he’s mad. Not otherwise worthy of my time and energy (remember what I said about the senselessness of fighting on the internet and social media?).
I Think It Would Be Cool, Representing Another Country In The Olympics
The Tokyo Games have come to an end and, if you’re anything like me, you were glued to the set, watching live and previously recorded contests with great enthusiasm.
Once upon a time I was all things Red, White & Blue, straight ticket, all day, every day. I love my country, I really do, even during those times when it doesn’t seem to love me equally (which is more often than desirable). This is my country of birth and for so long it as been, as it boasts, “the land of opportunity”. There have also been times when it seemed like my pom-pom shaking was incentivized, especially when the awarding of a gold medal in your game ticket assigned event meant a free Big Mac at McDonald’s (man, we truly racked up during that promotion in 1984). Who wasn’t more energized during those times?
But my approach to the Olympic games and the total (particularly Gold) medal count has changed in recent years.
If I had to pick a specific point, I’d say it began with the Jamaican competitors back in 1988. Remember when they sent their representatives in for the bobsled competition, during the WINTER Olympics? Now that was something; an otherwise unheard of endeavor for that country. And if you’re old enough, I’m sure you can recall that the world watched with great interest.
I was happy to know that the rest of the world gave them tremendous respect, despite their disappointing loss. And the Disney movie, “Cool Runnings”, based on their experience, only made them that much more adorable.
There were other competitors along the way since then, but the standouts, again, came from Jamaica, with world record-breaking sprinter Usain Bolt and other products like Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
And from this year, there is Chinese diver, 14-year-old Quan Hongchan. Quan’s mother has an illness that requires year-round treatment. As a result, Quan chose to dive to make money to send home for treatment. She became none of my favorites in the 2020 Olympics.
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands tripped and fell over Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok at the start of the final lap of the 1500-meter heat. With a look of extreme determination, she got up, ran down the pack and WON!
High Jump competitors Gianmarco Tamberi of Itali and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar jumped their way to a medal-seeking deadlock. The judge asked the two if they wanted to compete in a tie-breaking jump-off.
Barshim asked, “Can we have TWO golds?”
The official nodded and history recorded two emotional gold medalists.
And there’s Miho Nonaka, who made the new Olympic event Sport Climbing so much fun to watch. Even when she fell during one of her rock climbing attempts, she got up, smiled, laughed, then went right back at it. She won the silver, but you’d have thought she won the gold while breaking the world record. I couldn’t help but fall in love with her charisma and joy in being there.
It certainly has been an immensely exciting time for sports, particularly during a time and situation that threatened to eliminate the 2020 Olympic spirit, if not the games, altogether.
To add to the fun, we got to watch dozens of athletes playing for other countries: Some athletes, born and raised in countries who chose to represent those of their ethnic heritage. Some who moved away and established colorful careers in other countries in various sports, but elected to return home to compete.
Like Black Puerto Rican Jasmine Camacho-Quinn who won the Women’s 100m Hurdles representing Puerto Rico.
And what about all the superstars who play in the NBA/WNBA who decided to return to their homes? Remember how Nigeria and France gave Team USA Men’s Basketball fits early on? To some, it looked odd, seeing recognizable faces in colors other than what they were used to.
I thought it was beautiful. Represent your homeland, baby…
And then I asked myself the question: If I could participate in the Olympics (preferably in my prime) in a sport in which I excelled, but not something that is typically played in that country…
I wouldn’t want to play something like Basketball, Volleyball, Track or another team sport. Not that I’d be better than anyone from that country, but I don’t like the idea of possibly taking a spot that could otherwise go to someone FROM that country. Again, not that I would necessarily be better. I’d like to do something like Surfing, Skateboarding, Archery, Canoe Sprints, etc. Remember, I’d like to be an addition to the team, not a replacement of someone already deserving.
And don’t let me get started on the Winter Games. That’s my favorite time of year, where I LOVE outdoor activity.
Does that mean that I’m not a American supporter? No.
Do I think I couldn’t cut it, vying for a spot against other Americans? Of course not.
I just think it would be really cool to help bring additional glory to the land of my ancestors: Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana or a few others. The thought of being welcomed home to a land I’ve never previously been and never truly knew. Becoming a delegate and hero in a far-away land.
And even if I didn’t medal, oh man, that would be beautiful.
I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. You shouldn’t either.
Although it’s highly unlikely that I will ever do anything Olympic-related beyond serving as a volunteer when they come to Los Angeles in 2028, one never knows. This year’s games included Olympians Mary Hanna (age 66), Nino Salukvadze (52), Santiago Raul Lange (59), Xia Lian Ni (58) and others.
Me? I’ll be 56 when the summer games go to Paris and 60 in L.A.
And if you read my previous blog, “I Was An Olympian (For A Day)”, you already know that when Underwater Basketweaving becomes an event, I just might be there.
So I guess I better get started training now.
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