A brief note on the Olympics
She said something so smart:
“Do I wish that everyone would just talk about how, you know, awesome I am — and how I could be America’s first gold medalist? Yes, I wish that,” she says. “But America wants that comeback kid story. They want the person who overcame obstacles to reach their goals. And I fit that bill pretty well.”
She knows about us Americans. How just going to the Olympics and winning isn’t enough. We want to be served up a dish of emotional backstory to make us feel like we know the athlete, like we’re connected, like we have a special reason to root for them.
Look, I love a good story as much as anyone. As a reporter and blogger, even working in marketing, I look for “the story” that is going to grab people and hook them and pull them in like big fish.
Let me tell you the true story of these Olympians. The story is that they got up earlier that other people. They worked harder. Then harder than that. They may have started with a good dollop of talent and lucky genetics, but that wasn’t enough. They and their families sacrificed over and over and over – time, money, togetherness. They gave up playing and parties and family events. They worked through pain and loss and I’m sure most of them considered giving up many, many times.
But they made it. Out of hundreds or thousands or millions, they did it. They got to the Olympics, the pinnacle of sport. They’re there after all this work, representing their countries, hoping and praying to make us proud, determined to give the performance of a lifetime. Once chance. One moment.
We don’t have to be emotional vampires feeding on the blood of their past tragedies. Let’s just talk about how awesome they are at the sport they do and let that be enough.