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15 August 2004

Olympic whining

BF and I have been watching the Olympics for the last couple of
days.  If you’ve been watching during this Olympics or any in the
past, you have seen at least some of these “athlete profiles” that they
do each time.  The trope is pretty much the same: lots of talent,
good but not great in the past, some sort of crystallizing event
(usually a tragedy of a personal nature), a renewed resolve to be
better and greater, and then some sort of preliminary result that
indicates that greatness could be around the corner for the
athlete.  But the personal tragedy often comes across as something
that mere mortals cannot understand, the sacrifices extreme, the penury
of their lives almost Russian in its tragic pathos.

And it’s just disgusting.

Case in point: gymnist Mohini Bhardwaj had a profile on Sunday
night, and the piece talked about the obstacles she has had to
overcome.  Made a comeback two years ago at 23, dislocated elbow
injury just recently, and the whole litany of the normal we hear. 
But then we get a decent amount of the piece, listening to Bhardwaj and
the people around her complain about the low-status, badly paying jobs
she has to work.  She has to deliver pizza to make money, she had
to live on PowerBars for a week because she couldn’t buy food, she just
never seems to have enough money to live on.  He coach thinks that
it’s wrong that a Olympic athlete has to live like this to pursue their
dream.  Bhardwaj comes across rather haughtily, saying that she’s
sure she could get a “real job,” but she guesses she’ll just have to
keep delivering pizzas if she wants to be an Olympic athlete.

What about the people who have to work these jobs because it’s all
they can do?  What about people who don’t have health insurance
but who also have kids to take care of?  What about people who
don’t have the option to go get a “real job”?  Besides, if money
seems that important to you, then give up the Olympics and get one of
those “real jobs.”  You’ve made choices to pursue your dreams and
the glory of the Olympics, and that may or may not include money or
ease. But don’t go to the Olympics and speak in such a way as make it
seem like you’re dealing with real adversity (when it seems that all
the adversity you face is aging and a low-paying pizza delivery job).

You have your health and a working, able body.  You have to
ability to take care of yourself.  You have a support structure of
some sort around you (coaches and trainers, at the least).  You
have the potential after the Olympics to use your status as an Olympian
to provide for yourself.

Let me be clear.  Bhardwaj certainly is not the only Olympian
who comes across in such a way in these pieces, but she seemed an
especially egregious version of the type.

After the piece, we learned that Bhardwaj got $20,000 from Pamela Anderson. 

Hmm.  A serving of adversity, anyone?  Sounds lucrative to me….

Posted in RmAuNsDiOnMg on 15 August 2004 at 10:53 pm by Nate