Editorial: Celebration of humanity saves games

By Mark Story

2 comments
Spain's Miguel Duran Navia, right, cries as he leaves the pool area after a false start but is allowed to compete again in a heat of the men's 400m freestyle. Photo / AP
Spain's Miguel Duran Navia, right, cries as he leaves the pool area after a false start but is allowed to compete again in a heat of the men's 400m freestyle. Photo / AP

Truth be told there's ample reason to be disinterested in the Olympics.

For starters, the Aussies - they're creaming us in the medal standings, again.

Then there are the incessant drug scandals, where kosher scientists try for new ways to detect contraband and, in doing so, battle the not-so-kosher scientists developing clever methods to mask it.

Then we have the gaudy opening ceremony; the platitude, puff and pageantry is without peer. Each year the bling outdoes the predecessor, to the point one would be forgiven for thinking it was pushing for inclusion as an Olympic sport in its own right.

And, of course, we have the inclusion of bizarre disciplines. Namely, the walking event. Given the Olympics motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger", it's counter-intuitive to have a race where it's all about who can move fastest in first gear. To boot, the walk is near impossible to fairly scrutinise.

It's hopelessly flawed.

Lastly (and my pet peeve), witness the proliferation of professional sports. Every time someone in Rio tees off, slam dunks or serves a tennis ball, something looks amiss. The Olympics are the poorer for its embracing of major leaguers. Sport, after all, is all about context; these codes are playing on the wrong stage.

But those are minor considerations. Magic moments keep me watching. A personal favourite thus far was what transpired immediately after Spanish swimmer Miguel Duran Navia was disqualified for a false start. Tears flowed as he walked anguished from the pool, in front of a crowd which rose to its feet and roared him to a successful reprieve.

After all, despite its quirks, the Games remain a celebration of humanity.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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