Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Who are the Olympians?

I am somewhat confused, which I often am these days, with regards to the Olympics.  In the lead up to the summer games in Rio we had such an enormous coverage daily on the state of things in and around Rio.  During the games the coverage was brilliant to say the least and major players in the media were excellent in providing detailed information and running commentary.  Indeed I was amazed by that coverage and truly delighted that for the first time in some while I actually sat and watched / listened to the day to day coverage.  the country was enthralled by the efforts of the athletes; was engrossed with the scandal and gossip that was coming out of the games.  The games ended and are normal daily radio and TV content returned.  Except of course now that the Olympics have returned, or rather do I have to use the discriminatory wording to distinguish the 'para' olympics from the Olympics.

However, the corresponding coverage by the media of the Olympics is no longer there.  I am aware that some are continuing to broadcast but the 'hype' is no longer there.  We normal mortals who do not necessarily subscribe to or wish to watch but rather listen are no longer able.  Listening to the radio we happen to get snippets of the results almost as a fill in rather than the enormous coverage and hype as before.  I manage to see a magnificent performance of an archer on 'Facebook' but this was not spoken about elsewhere.  Is it that the national pride for Australian athletes is reserved only for those who are made in the image to what we see as being 'normal'?  I am pretty certain that the other countries of the world are also just as ashamed and have no wish to 'hype' those who do not conform to the norms of each society.

                            The True Olympians         

If I was to look at the medal standings currently (and the games are not over) our 'Para' Olympians have a greater medal tally than the Olympians.  If this is how we are to judge performance I would suggest that the real Olympians are those we term as being 'irregular / abnormal /alongside' aka 'para' rather than Olympians.  Yes, the word choice for the Olympics that are on at present is somewhat derogatory to say the least.  I am enjoined by Christ to care for those who are outcast from society; as a citizen of this country and any country I believe I should support those who are discriminated against so that we can form communities that are safe and free from prejudice.  I would rejoice if our country would realise that everyone has the potential to be part of a community that is accepting of all people.

Should we not be rejoicing even more for our true Olympians and be watching with eagerness their exploits?  Should we not be ensuring that all athletes regardless of their physical or mental capacity have the same support, the same enthusiasm, the same coverage, the same celebration? or do we leave it just to those who are members of the athletes' families, limited numbers of the community that help with the finance, the care and the rejoicing that goes with all athletic / sporting  endeavour?  As a citizen of the country I believe that there should be an equality in funding, support and celebration by the country for our athletes no matter their sport.  As a Christian I am ashamed that we do not do as much for those who are different from us as those we idolise for their excellence in shape, fitness and image.  On an aside, I am interested to know how many drug cheats are found at these Olympics compared to our earlier Olympics?

Let us celebrate the success of the true Olympians with the same or even greater enthusiasm than the other Olympians who we welcomed back just the other day.  Let us support them to as great an extent as we do for the other Olympians both as a Nation (Government funding, etc), as consumers (demanding more from our media outlets) and as individuals as we involve ourselves in their sports.

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