Scrutiny and Olympic Fame

Olympic fame is weird.

It's not like movie fame, or music fame, or even sports fame, if you can believe it!

Olympic fame is an explosion. No one knows who you are, then suddenly you're on the world's biggest stage. If you don't perform well, then you're just going to fade away. But if you do perform up to standards - and even win a gold medal - the spotlight shines brightly on you. You're only known for one thing, and you need to have the stamina and personality to handle all the media attention.

The USOC is always trekking out their top athletes for various events because they're hoping to raise the funds needed to support all their athletes. (Our government does not support Team USA with any funds, unlike many countries.) NBC will plaster an Olympian's face all over their advertising and stick a camera in their face when they compete in order to get more viewers. And sometimes, the spotlight can get pretty hot.

This week at the US Swimming National Championships, two women swam that have dealt with depression and anxiety after their Olympic performances. Allison Schmitt finished second in two races and is headed for the Pan Pacific Games after dealing with years of anxiety and depression. She has been outspoken about her illness. Missy Franklin, gold medalist in London, competed in the 100m and 200m backstroke, but only finished 17th and 19th. She has also been battling depression.

Simone Biles, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the gymnastics all-around, competed on Saturday night for the first time since the Olympics and won the competition in Columbus. But that doesn't mean the journey came easy for her. On Friday night she tweeted

It takes a lot of stamina for an Olympian to endure a quadrennial. Some make it look easy, but it is definitely a struggle that's easier to see nowadays.

I've been reading two books about past Olympics: The Games by David Goldblatt and Fire on the Track by Roseanne Montillo. The struggles with enduring popularity and media scrutiny have existed since the beginning of Olympic coverage. Women weren't even taken seriously as athletes until after World War II. Most female track athletes were declared "unfeminine" by the press while their teammates in swimming and diving were adored for their grace and beauty. Can you imagine working hard in your craft only to be dismissed by those that are supposed to promote you?

We as hardened Olympic fans can do more to help those athletes as they work hard between Olympics. We can go out and see them compete. We can watch their events if they're aired on television. If they do meet and greets we can show them our appreciation. If we follow on social media we don't demand that they do more for us. If negative reports surface by the regular media or social media, we can do our homework and see if those reports are telling the truth.

Getting angry and overly critical of our Olympians doesn't fix anything. If you're angry and overly critical of someone you love, they are probably going to have a negative reaction. Olympians are people - even though the USOC and NBC seemingly parade them out like dolls to get money and viewers. Don't forget that!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

Well I had some time to look at some reviews of CoSport...and they weren't great. I need to take online reviews with a grain of salt - positive experiences usually don't warrant a post on the Internet - but the reviews I read said a bit about CoSport's policy. Some families' event tickets weren't together. Tickets needed to be picked up in the host city and couldn't be mailed. There are quite a few posts on TripAdvisor simply titled "CoSport Sucks."

People's experiences with CoSport's customer service seems to be pretty negative, too, which is the part that grates on me the most. Companies that give customers the runaround are the absolute worst. (I speak as someone having major issues with Comcast/Xfinity right now.)

Fortunately, I did come across Ken Hanscom, a writer and pretty knowledgeable person when it comes to Olympic ticketing. I read his article about purchasing tickets for PyeongChang and learned quite a lot. I don't have to go through CoSport and can purchase directly through the organizers if I wanted - and I wouldn't get the upcharge! As a result, I'm leaning more towards the a la carte vacation plan.

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

One word: ski ballet.

Mini Blurbs

  • Even though I had faculty meetings and watched some tech webinars to get me ready for the school year, I still had time to watch a lot of sports. This week's BlurbWatch:
    • Track and Field
    • Fencing
    • Rugby
    • Swimming
    • Gymnastics
  • The Rugby World Cup Sevens took place last weekend in San Francisco, and I really, really need to watch more rugby. I enjoy it so much when I watch it!
  • The US Swimming National Championships not only determine who would attend the Pan Pacific Championships in two weeks, but also next year's World Championships. Not really sure why. 
  • Even though the TYR Pro Swim Series showcases a lot of the greatest swimmers in the US, it doesn't show all of them. Chase Kalisz and Zane Grothe looked like locks in their events, but Kalisz finished sixth in the 200m butterfly and Grothe finished third in the 1500m freestyle. Later in the meet each won a different event, but the talent pool in the US runs very deep, and you can't determine the elite athletes by one set of swim meets alone!
  • One thing you can count on: Katie Ledecky is going to win a bunch. She won three national championships this weekend. 
  • One of the major senior competitions in gymnastics took place in Columbus, Ohio at the US Classic, and Simone Biles took the win with almost two whole points separating her from the rest of the competitors, which included current world champion Morgan Hurd. Biles did a dismount several times that looks more like a tumbling roll than anything else, and it was pretty awesome!
  • By the way, you don't realize how hard the wolf turn is until you've seen it done badly. Which I did last night. 
  • Still trying to get into fencing. Still trying to understand it. I'm really trying, guys. 
  • Last Sunday was the second day of the Diamond League: London. We're nearing the end of the Diamond League, and it's clear that track and field athletes have ups and downs through the season, too. Katerina Stefanidi started her season of pole vault badly but has surged back as of late. Mutaz Barshim looked unbeatable in the high jump, but then got injured and now is out for the rest of the season after surgery. That's just the way of the season!
  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson is a British heptathlete, but she is very good at field events and actually competed in long jump and high jump in the Diamond League event over the weekend. She got fifth place in the long jump and ninth in the high jump. 
  • I adore when London hosts track and field; they have an awesome camera angle for track events because they put a cameraman on a four-wheeler and drive him in the outside lanes!
  • Something that might cause jumpers some consternation is the fact that London raised the platform for the long jump and triple jump. I'm sure athletes have to deal with various types of tracks, but it seemed very tight!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!


Popular posts from this blog

A Guide to Naruto for the Curious

Dear MLC,

Worship Conference: An Epiphany for the Musician