A child’s question on Olympic values: “We’re supposed to cheer for them, right?”

Talita_and_renata_of_brazil_with_th
E
arly
this week my young son and I were watching the Olympics’ semifinal
match in women’s beach volleyball — Brazil’s Talita and Renata versus
United States’ Walsh and May-Trenor. After the American duo
scored, he said, “That’s good, right? Those are the Americans,
right? We’re supposed to cheer for them, right?”
    The
interrogative “right” turned statements into questions — questions
about the link between Olympic competition and love of country. We had an interesting discussion about the good feelings that arise
when one’s countrymen and countrywomen win, and the importance of
celebrating athletic achievement regardless of place or politics.
    Patriotism
was the theme of OurValues.org during the week of August 4.
For many, the Olympics is all about national pride. Indeed, the
desire by the American media to highlight American achievements in the
Games has created a bit of a tricky situation. American Olympians
come out on top in the medal count only if the total count is considered — gold,
silver, and bronze. China reigns first if the number of gold medals
is used for ranking. It’s been interesting to peruse the various
media and see which system they use.

PLEASE, tell me how you’re responding to the Olympics coverage. Do
you feel proud when an Olympian wins a medal? Do the Olympics
serve national interests more than the interests of a global community?
How would you have answered my son’s questions?

CARE TO READ MORE?
    In the following links, you might have to log into the New York Times site, if you haven’t visited it before.
    TIMES BUBBLE MAP: Take a look at how the New York Times represents Olympic medals online.
    OFFICIAL OLYMPIC SITE: Here’s a different way of expressing the records on the Beijing 2008 site.
    DAILY NEWS COVERAGE: And for a third perspective on coverage, here’s the New York Daily News site.

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