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The Olympic Spirit: Hot, Cool, Mine

Joined: 2/26/2014
Posts: 2
As Chinese skier Mengtao Xu received a silver medal in the Ladies’ Aerials Freestyle skating event, my parents looked as if they had won the medal themselves. I am sure that, across America, people felt the same way as they did, with breaking down in tears when their favorite athletes won medals, and then perhaps crying even harder when they did not. Over the years, the Olympic games have come to be more than a simple competition: it has become a symbol of national pride, with every spectator having a stake in the proceedings. Children and adults alike are inspired by the feats accomplished during the matches, with those inspired accomplishing wonders of their own, from art to excellence in sports. Even greater, however, is the emotional impact of the Olympics. A study by the IEEE on Twitter posts found that, during the Olympics, there were significantly more positive messages, and that these messages were more likely to be passed on or re-tweeted than before when the Olympics were not on. Another study reported that watching sports gives many spectators an endorphin and adrenaline rush comparable to the rush that the athletes themselves feel. The Olympics is seen to be a general mood booster, and also allows vicarious enjoyment of the spectators. However, I think that this is has a rather negative effect. While it is enjoyable to try to live through your favorite Olympic athlete, many seem to lose themselves in this process. Waiting to get home to watch the next game, or review how someone did in event, people forget to notice the present, or situations going on around them. Also, because Olympic athletes are the very best and, during the games, are only compared with each other, society tends to devalue other athletes and their work. While there are many really good snowboarders and skiers out there, they are often underappreciated when compared to such superstars as Ted Ligety and Maddie Bowman, first place gold medalists in slalom and half pipe skiing. In fact, after a while, the Olympic athletes themselves begin to become highly criticized, even though the average American can never even dream of performing the moves of 10th place Olympic competitors. Thus, the Olympic Spirit has both the ability to improve society and the ability to desensitize it. Most certainly however, it is everyone’s spirit, regardless of nationality.
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