Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics - closing thoughts

So anothers Olympics come to an end, and here are some final musings:

* Rights for telecast (at least in countries like India) should be given to as many television networks as possible. DD Sports did absolutely no justice to this spectacle of spectacles.

And neither did the few minutes spent by TV news channels, on the most saleable sportsperson of the day. We will remember nothing of this Olympics beyond Mark Phelps, Usain Bolt and Abhinav Bindra!

* It's really a chicken and egg syndrome. If you want Olympics to catch the imagination you need to give it that kind of importance. You need to put EVERYTHING else on the backburner for those 17 days.

That means giving prime time coverage even to 'obscure' sports. How else will they NOT be obscure?

* National pride and India winning medals cannot be the only peg for the media. And we need to see more of the PEOPLE behind the performances.

For example, the fact that Mark Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and told by his teachers that he would never be able to focus on anything.

I think that is as big or even bigger a story than his actual achievements. This is the behind-the-scenes which will inspire hundreds of parents to believe in their children - whether in the pool or outside of it.

* I would like to see more medal winners from India too. But let us not forget the very high price that has to be paid by these atheletes and their families. And I am not talking about money alone.

In the Communist bloc, superstars are created in state-sponsored sweatshops. In countries like America, champions are produced by parents who give it their ALL.

I'm not saying that means you don't invest your time, money and effort if you believe your child has potential (and there is an experienced coach or player who backs up that assessment).

But let's also recognise sport for the sake of sport alone. Yes, it does offer a higher purpose or career path for a few supremely talented and committed young people. But it can and must be seen as an important and productive pastime for ALL kids.

Even the ones aiming to 'do well in life' by scaling entrance exams.

* Lastly, the theme of the Beijing Olympics became more than a slogan for me on the very last day. In the women's gymnastics (all round competition), a team from Israel was performing its routine. And the music they has chosen to choregraph it on was the Bollywood number Dhoom tana from 'Om Shanti Om'.

One World, One Dream...


  1. "We will remember nothing of this Olympics beyond Mark Phelps, Usain Bolt and Abhinav Bindra!"

    Mark Phelps??? I guess we've started forgetting the Olympics already.

    Otherwise, i agree with you that the media is primarily to blame for our low medal tally. Only by showing these sports ( ALL the tournaments, and not just the olympics that comes once every 4 years), will they be able to ignite some passion in the youngsters of India . The sports channels are busy showing cricket match re-runs. Who wants to see the "India beat Australia in 1991" for the thousandth time? why not show some other sports instead? Sports like fencing, pole vault, swimming, athletics are much much more fun to watch than 100 overs of people running around in a field.

  2. 'But it can and must be seen as an important and productive pastime for ALL kids.'

    I completely agree!!!

    Nice post as usual.

  3. Nice Post.....
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  4. I totally agree that sports should be a part of regular routine for every child and I don't mean the roadside cricket only. Not learning to play anything during my school time is a major regret I have. My school totally wanted us to focus on studies and didn't even have a playground :-( .


  5. Mark Phelps??? btw, good post!

  6. The coverage by DD sports wasn't that bad. Covered most events with Indian participation and didn't miss 100m ,200m etc either.

  7. NBC went gaga over Michael Phelps even before the games started. They actually struck a deal to switch with IOC to switch the swimming finals from evenings to mornings for increased viewership in the US.
    on another note: phelps' story can be a classic motivational lesson for any youngster. His 'hate to lose' attitude is what differentiated him from the rest, who were among the best in the world themselves.

  8. I dont entirely agree that ONLY media is to blame... media is doing business and it will only go the way people want to see... How many of us knew Abhinav Bindra or Vijendra before winning medals? ...But if you talk about cricket.. some of us will even know about Ranji players...or the upcoming talents... ... Seen the crowd when India won the ICC T20 championship... Did we had similar crowd when Vijendra got the medal... I guess only becoz of the media you know these olympic winners and we can talk something other than cricket during coffee breaks :)

    BTW You will have lots of people still willing to watch "India Beat australia in 1991" (someone mentioned above) but not the olympics... wanna bet!

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  11. Mark Phelps eh!! :-)

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