Wednesday, August 31, 2016

remembering the Olympics in Rio

Goodbye, Rio. We've seen it once again: Brazilians know how to throw a good party. You spent a lot less money on opening and closing ceremonies than London, but your moves and looks more than make up for it. :)

I know it's easy for me to enjoy watching. I don't live in a favela. The price for Brasil to host the Olympic Games is too high for many people. Why do the Olympics so often go to countries that have bigger problems than creating an unforgettable sport's experience? The advantage of the World looking in their general direction, can hardly make up for the harm caused to locals who were brutally cleared out of their own territory to make room for guests. Neither can the smaller size of the Olympic cauldron, which was supposed to be a warning against global warming.

So many reminders, but I'm afraid the residents of Rio's slums will soon be forgotten now that the Games are over. How to thank them for sharing their city with all of us?

"Favela Morro do Cantagalo," by Baldemar Fierro of Laguna Beach, featured at the Festival of Arts
On a positive note, the World's sporters will be with us, to remind us of winning attitudes. Not just those who carry medals home.

Some of my highlights:

1. Churandy Martina ran to become 5th in the 200m Men's Final - he said with his usual big smile showing all his teeth: "I hope people who set their alarmclock to watch aren't too disappointed. I did my very best."

2. Gymnast Epke Zonderland finishing his exercise on the high bar after falling so painfully that all of Holland felt it (and he even passed out for a moment). His calm, composed commenting on it afterwards, proved him a hero too. One journalist asked him to respond to the British contestant who had appeared to be laughing at him after his fall. Zonderland said without any inclination to take offense: "You never know why someone is laughing. Perhaps he once fell off too and his coach made a comment about it to remind him."

So there, you don't have to bring home gold to be a winner!

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