Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic Irony

The gold medal basketball game between Spain and USA was pretty damn good. It was hard not to root for Spain, just because they were such underdogs. They couldn't really lose, though. Anybody who scores against the American team is a winner--and Spain mounted more than a merely credible effort. They actually led at one point and kept the pressure on the whole time.

Of course, the Portuguese 18-year old is going to play in the NBA, just as some other NBA players were fighting for the Argentines. The Russian lady (she's 29! Update, no: 33!) who should have won the gold in the vault (but got the silver due to some bizarre judging) was playing for Germany (because Russia couldn't find it in their bureaucracy to treat her cancer-ridden son). Foreign-born Americans played for their home countries, and immigrants to America (and their children, like Nastia) played for us. Chinese dominated ping pong, playing for all different sorts of countries. A lot of foreign medalists train in the U.S.A.

The joke of the "medal count" was that the Olympics were supposed to transcend nationalism. (Medal counts were "illegal" for decades.)

It was hard to watch these games without believing, on a very real level, that they have.

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