Tuesday, March 02, 2010

An Idea

Firstly: in light of what happened recently in Chile, I'd thought I'd reiterate my previous post about how lucky we are. Since some of the links point to Haiti, here are the links for the Chilean Embassy in D.C. and in Ottawa.

On Sunday, the Olympics came to a close, and we all went back to our normal everyday routine. It looked like quite a party, but it got me thinking, particularly in light of the hockey game Sunday afternoon.

I didn't watch the hockey game, just the brief moments that were retold later that night during the nightly news (congrats to all my Canadian friends, btw), but then I saw an interview with an American player afterward. The player was saying how disappointed he was for being forced to settle for the silver medal. He wouldn't even accept the reporter's congratulations.

Did you know that more silver medalists are depressed than anyone else who compete in the Olympics? Gold medalists are always happy. Bronze medalists are just happy to be on the podium, and everybody else who doesn't medal just feels sad that they didn't medal. But silver medalists, time and again, are depressed. If they only flew higher, jumped farther, ran faster, stopped one more goal, landed one more jump. Their lives are full of "if only's" and "what if's."

Which is a shame really. Because silver medal? That's pretty good! It means that out of everybody else in the world competing in your sport, you are better than all of them except for one. I don't see why people who win the silver medal are treated as though they had to settle for something.

Do you think that Meryl Davis and Charlie White are disappointed with the silver medal they won in ice dancing in one of their first international competitions ever? That Jaret Peterson is disappointed with the silver he won in men's freestyle aerials (he was quoted as saying that it tasted pretty sweet)? That Julia Mancuso is disappointed with the two silvers she won in women's downhill and the super-combined (she danced on the podium with a grin as big as B.C. on her face)? Or that Johnny Spillane is disappointed with the three silvers he won in men's Nordic combined (the first medals ever for any American in the event)?

And that's one of the reasons I didn't watch the hockey game (another reason is that I'm still quite bitter over the way I was treated by certain Canadians after the 2002 gold medal game, but that's a post for another time). I am not a fan of any sport, be it hockey, basketball, curling, volleyball, whatever, where the gold and silver medals come down to playing a game. Where in order to win the silver medal, you have to lose. Where athletes don't win silver medals but lose gold ones. No wonder the hockey player was down in the dumps about the game.

I feel like the awards for gold, silver, and bronze in these types of sports should be determined using some other method. In 1980 (that's the last time the US won a gold medal in men's hockey, and to all you Canadians out there? Regardless of how many medals we may or may not go on to win in future Olympics, none of them will ever top that one), the last game the US played wasn't against the Soviets, the team that ended up with the silver medal. It was against Finland, who finished fourth. So maybe we should go back to whatever method was used back then. Maybe then, the athletes can return home and feel like they've actually accomplished something, instead of feeling like they had to settle.

Ok, rant over, peace out. I'm going back to rooting for Alex Ovechkin.

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