If I owned a DVD store, (which I don’t, and if I did it would be closed by now, but that’s a different story) the weekend of the 27 July 2012 at the start of the Summer Olympics I’d have these 3 movies on a special promo; Chariots of Fire, Cool Runnings and Munich. All three movies share the same Olympic theme. I’d do it simply to participate as best I can towards a world event. Even more so because my country is not only participating in the Opening Ceremony by taking part in the traditional march past, but will also be sending possibly 3 athletes, which includes for the first time, a woman, 19 year old 400m athlete Maziah Mahusin.
Out of the 3 movies, Cool Runnings is a favourite of mine and embodies the true spirit of the Olympic games. A Jamaican bobsled team taking part in the Winter Olympics in Calgary 1988 is inspiring in its simple message. An endeavour undertaken to be among the world’s best. It doesn’t matter that your country is one of those whose athletes reign supreme, or those that are prop up the bottom of the results table, the Olympic games is not all about the medals, but it about participating and experience, striving for excellence in whatever you do.
Our athletes will most likely find it difficult or impossible to meet Olympic qualifying standards, given their lack of international experience. But the I.O.C. has long granted participation under special conditions to athletes from developing nations.
According to Wikipedia in 1988 Brunei’s first participation in the Olympic games was limited to the Opening Ceremony Parade with the lone official but no athletes. It wasn’t until the 1996 Games in Atlanta, USA that Brunei started competing in Olympics, and then every games since (except for 2008) then with a single athlete. In Athens 2004, Jimmy Anak Ahar competed in the 1500 meters and finished last. Time Magazine has a wonderful story from 2004 on the ‘finished but not beaten’ participants of the 2004 Olympic games in Athens and stressed that the Olympics is not just about large countries with juggernaut proportioned sports institutions churning out platoons of medal winners, but the fact that small nations can turn out and strive to be the best that they can be. Times found greater dignity in the unfancied athlete doing his best than in the sometimes shady world of win at all costs.
The other thing about the Olympics is that it is a great celebration of sporting diversity, athletes come in all shapes, sizes, forms, races and nationalities, all with essentially the same purpose, to do their best.
The best thing for us in competing is the human development, because no matter our results, we would have sent our boys and girls to do their best. It is the simple fact that they have devoted themselves to doing something well that is a shining beacon to future generations to excel.
I think we should therefore take pride in our own Olympians, they just go to show that just because we are small, it doesn’t mean that we can’t strive.
Photo from Time.com
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