Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Promote the Positivity

In eight days, our television sets will all be tuned into NBC to view the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. There will be pomp and circumstance, there will be dancing, and there will be way too much commentary so that we Americans (who apparently can't understand other cultures and countries?) can understand what's going on.

Of course, if you have kept your ear to the ground, you've heard how the Rio Olympics are a mess, the facilities are not ready, and athletes are already being suspended for doping. This is going to be the worst thing ever.

But I have been hearing other rumblings, as well. Something I have been hoping to hear for many, many Olympics. It's backlash of the Olympics backlash!

My sentiment throughout my 20 years (20 years?!) of Olympics viewing and eventual obsessing has been this: people will spend the 2-6 months before the Games begin complaining about everything concerning the Olympics. And I mean everything! Facilities, food, volunteers, athletes, white-washing Olympic committees, the Olympic village, language barrier, slums of the host city, expense, doping, NBC, and more that I can't even think of right now.

Some of the complaining is legitimate. But a lot of it is not!

After people have been inundated with all this negativity, the Olympics finally begin. And all that negativity suddenly vanishes! People get invested in the athletes (and their stories, which sometimes are over-hyped by NBC) and suddenly positivity has taken over. Yes, we are disappointed when a team or an athlete loses, but we're usually not negative about it.

As I just saw in a commercial, "For 17 days we are all UNITED." Say what you want about politics, but we are all cheering for that American athlete, no matter who he or she is. We'll watch an event where an American is not prominently featured (like table tennis!) and we'll watch and we'll hopefully go, "I had no investment in this event, but I enjoyed the heck out of it!"

To my delight, other people are pushing aside the pre-Olympics negativity as well. This morning I read an amazing article by Olympic historian Bill Mallon, and you should read it, too. I love his sentiment: go to the Olympics and then make your opinions!

(I do hope to follow his advice in 2020 in Tokyo! If I keep saying that I'm doing it, then it'll happen, right?!)

Bill Plaschke, writer for the Los Angeles Times and frequent guest on ESPN's Around the Horn, used some of his FaceTime yesterday during the show to tell people to quit talking smack about the Olympics. "I know it's corrupt, it's foul, there's the Zika virus, it's not ready, it's gonna be chaos and everything, and it's gonna be great. Every Olympics is great. They always get their act together...It's gonna be a tremendous, tremendous Olympics. Somebody's gonna win a gold medal, somebody's gonna cry, somebody's life dream is gonna be fulfilled. Watch it. It'll work."

And you can read articles by journalists and roll your eyes, but when it comes from the athletes themselves, then maybe you should pay attention. 3-time US Olympian Megan Kalmoe wrote a very blunt article telling complainers and media outlets to "Stop trying to ruin the Olympics for us." She has just made a new fan because of that article because she said everything I was hoping someone would say. (Plus she mentions that this Olympics should have been in Chicago. Remember that? I do!)

You might think that I'm only going to post positive articles here that drive my point. You know what? You're right. Because you can probably Google "Rio Olympics bad" and have 100 pages of negative Olympic articles, so why should I put them here?

Let's bring some positivity, people! Let's go on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and whatever and promote the Olympics! Get ahead of the curve, instead of waiting for the first American gold medal to show up. Have fun, and show the love.

Wouldn't it be great to promote America as a loving, positive country? Well, let's start here.


Olympics articles will continue next week and then be posted every day (God-willing!) during the Rio Olympics! Like my page at facebook.com/blurbmusings or follow me @CeePipes on Twitter to get updates on my articles and other random Olympic musings!

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