Letter to the Editor, by Victor Cherubim
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After heroism and heartbreak for the athletes and competitors, ambition and amusement for the spectators, entertainment and enterprise for the public, the London Olympic Games has ended.
The closing farewell was a pop concert, in fact a big thank you to all the participants, for the great time they had given the public, by their superb sportsmanship, their dedication, and the incredible feats and for world records during the sixteen days of fierce but friendly rivalry among all the nations.
For London it was their finest hour, in fact three and a half hours of preparation for the handover ceremony of the Olympic Flag and the extinguishing of the Olympic flame passed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the 2016 Games will be held.
For Rio, it was their opportunity to show the world audience, what could be expected for the first time in the history of the Games, in the South American continent. There was more than excitement, as the entire stadium was transformed into a riot of color from red, white and blue to green, yellow and blue.
It was Carnival time as Brazil put on a magnificent show of Copacabana dancers, music and revelry, a formidable jollification never witnessed in London. Brazil, an upbeat member of the BRIC countries, wanted to show the world, what it can deliver, a style of its own, and a youthful vibrancy, yet altogether a different approach to life.
”We will, we will rock you, “was not only the pop item; but the message from Rio. Strange as it seems, its showcase followed the rendering of the pop melody:” Always, look on the bright side of life.”
The Games in London, was without a doubt a sporting theater, not only for men, but more so for women. The ascent of women from all over the world, competing on equal footing is one of the highlights. The South African athlete Caster Semenya, 21 who was forced to take a gender test because of her physique and fast times and was suspended for 11 months, took part and happily won a silver medal in the 800 meters in London.
There were 268 female competitors in Team GB at these Games alone, which made up the biggest women’s team by a margin of 126 participants. The ratio of 52 to 48 percent in favor of men is the closest at these Games, with women making up 46 percent of Team GB in Beijing. It is the hoped that in Brazil, there could well be more women competing from around the world, with possibly more of women’s sport activities and also women taking more gold.
Capturing the energy of the nation, the athletes on track who stood out at the London Games were the showmen Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the 100m and 200m double gold medalist and Mo Farah of GB with his double gold in the 5000m and10,000 m, while the most decorated swimmer of all time, Michael Phelps, USA with 22 golds and Ben Ainslie, GB, with fourth successive Olympic gold in sailing, were outstanding.
Likewise, legend, Jessica Ennis gold medalist in the heptathlon, and Missy Franklin 17, U.S. with 4 Gold in Swimming, were a cut above the rest among women. In the end U.S. captured 46 gold with China 38 and GB 29 golds respectively, a remarkable achievement.
Sport is about character, discipline, and training. At London, it was helping the young to make the most of themselves. There is no denying that the investment has paid off not only in the medals table, but in the morale of the nation.
None but the Londoners could vouch for their endurance in the preparation for the Games. This preparation started as early as 1994. Years of building works, road closures, tube and rail network disruption and closure during weekends, were endured with patience. Londoners had also to pay the price, an element of their Council Tax bills for staging the Olympics. Now with the Olympics over, the price paid is not too high in the cost benefit rationale.
GB is looking forward to Rio, as Britain should boast a line-up rich in Olympic experience. Rio hopefully is looking forward to light its name and boost its credentials. There are those who maintain that it is a cost too high to bear in national debt. Yet others whilst not competing in medal rankings may feel that two weeks of glory for a lifetime of better economy and a lower cost of living is better by far.
There is no price too high in my view for this competition.