Sunday, February 21, 2010

Apolo Ohno Wins 7 Medals, But He's a Failure


Last night, I stood at a bar with some friends and enjoying a few adult beverages with the Winter Olympics in the background. Around 11 pm or so the entire bar lit up when Appolo Ohno took the ice in preparation for his final race. Everyone in the bar was electric and chanting 'USA USA' as Ohno raced around the track. In the end, Apolo Ohno came in third place and earned a bronze medal. People in the bar were ecstatic as Ohno skated around the track and prepared to accept his record seventh medal at the Winter Olympics. Almost immediately people began to tell me how great Apolo Ohno is, and how great his athletic achievements are. At that point, I began to think, and I have to respectfully disagree.

Yes Apolo Anton Ohno is an amazing athlete. He does something I could never do. He earned those seven medals, and no one should take those from him. But greatest Olympian ever? I don't think so. At the end of the day, Ohno's medals are a mixture of golds, silvers, and bronzes, impressive but far from the best.

All my life I have seen signs, advertisements, and propaganda about the United States, national pride, and how great the U.S.A. is. It's something we pride ourselves on. When the Olympic basketball team failed, they re-tweaked the entire system to insure we got the best players into the right positions. Why? Because third place was not good enough. This is the United States we expect to win, and winning means first place. Bonnie Blair, once the most decorated Winter Olympic athlete won golds, Michael Phelps the most decorated Olympic athlete won golds, that's why we celebrated those athletes. Apolo Ohno has won gold, but not all gold.

My point being, when did we start cheering bronze and silver medals? This is America we compete to win, anything else is simply not good enough. Apolo Ohno you're a good story, but your bronze and silver medals simple don't cut it.




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