I have never been a fan of any kind of sports while growing up. But then I started running and met people who run much faster. And slower. And everything in between. And I slowly fell in love with sports, because anyone who has the determination to actually carry on something like this, needs to be well respected.
Also because they seem to be awesome people!
So this year’s Olympics has been to reaffirm that sports of any kind can be the best thing to happen to someone (that and food, and having a nice family and not getting fat, and cupcakes. Yep, cupcakes). And there has been few instances which I am going to say I loved.
The fact that there is a refugee team at the Olympics in Rio
This news not just made history, but it made us believe in the whole philosophy of having an event where the world’s best can participate. Whether they are going home with a gold, silver or nothing at all, they have all struggled to get there. Some more than the others. Imagine being 16 and having to swim and push a boat to safety so that people on the boat can have a chance at life again! There is nothing but respect for Yusra Mardini and this whole team.
That Olympians are almost like mere mortals. Almost.
Fu Yuanhui. That’s it. The bestest, goofiest swimmer I have read about. She makes funny faces, she has no idea that she has won an Olympics medal, she breaks the taboo of women on their periods and basically sounds like any of us (except winning the medal bit). What’s not to like about her?
Also, Simone Biles. In this video by Nike, her mother says how if Biles is being all silly before a meet, she is going to win. And if she is serious, it probably won’t be as good. So, it’s not necessary to be serious and always have a straight face if you are a world class athlete. Also, check out the workout section in this Nike page to move your body like Biles.
Because sportsmanship can be seen when you don’t expect it anymore. But you do.
Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino. Unlikely heroes. But they have already won the hearts of many people who believe in the positive nature of sportsmen. And women. Both runners fell, both helped each other out. And the words of encouragement which were exchanged between them would probably reverberate through the minds of hundreds of sportsmen when they train and compete as well : Get up. We have to finish this.
Just look at their photo here. How you not love this!
Dipa Karmakar and how a nation stood by her
We are a cynical bunch. We Indians. We want medals and we also want to criticize. And crib. But we stood united even as Karmakar came 4th in her final event. A lady, who on the basis of her pure grit and determination made it to the Olympics – becoming the first ever Indian woman to qualify for gymnastics. First ever! Imagine! And that after she didn’t even have a gymnasium or a studio to practice in and made do with whatever DIY equipments she could find. Heroes come in all forms. Some are in leotards.
Usain Bolt is the fastest human alive. And he does it with ease. Like, you can go and kill yourself trying to be fast, but he will take a blindfolded stroll and still beat you. That fast. And with a smile to dazzle the daylights out of you. This photo proves that he is after all, a superhuman in normal (slightly large) clothes.
And then there is Phelps. He and US Olympian Katie Ledecky recreated their decade old photo – with one person getting an autograph, grinning from year to year and the other signing it. Only, the roles have reversed. So cool.
Overtaking your idol
Joseph Schooling became Singapore’s first ever Gold medalist at the Olympics by beating his idol, Michael Phelps. He is cute, he is a kid, and he is all modest about his win.
Sexism and athletes taking a stand
Sexism is rampant. Female medal winners are often known as the spouse of someone, or as the next XYZ sportsman. While that happens, Andy Murray shut down a reporter from BBC when he congratulated Murray on being the first to win two Olympic Tennis Golds. Murray’s reply : I think Venus and Serena Williams have won about four each.
I am a Federer fan. But I have to give this man credit where it is due.
So, these are some of the things which I have loved. But the games are not over yet. And though it looks like we may not win any medals this time, I am still going crazy about all of them. Hunks – and not so hunks – all!