Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Expert strata, facilities & building management services

Rio 2016: The best Olympics ever!

By Kim Huynh - 18 August 2016 11

Rio De Janeiro. Corcovado mountain with statue of Christ the Redeemer, urban areas of Botafogo, Flamengo and Centro, Sugarloaf mountain. Photo: iStock

I reckon that Rio 2016 has been ‘the best Olympics ever’! Former IOC boss Juan Antonio Samaranch used this line at the end of every Olympiad (except Atlanta 1996). He was forever building up expectations about the Games. For me, however, Rio stands out as a triumph of lowered expectations.

This does not apply to Brazilians who were exuberant about being awarded the Olympics in 2009, but who now face economic and political crisis.

Infrastructure development for Rio has exposed widespread corruption. Many Brazilians question whether the money for the Games would have been better spent on schools and hospitals. Protesters temporarily extinguished the Olympic flame. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is on the verge of being impeached for financial mismanagement and interim President Michel Temer was booed at the opening ceremony.

In contrast, my lowly expectations of the 31st Olympiad had almost nowhere to fall. They were cut down by (Russian) drug doping and IOC corruption. I was less put off by the reports of crime, pollution and chaos, viewing the bad media as part of the pre-Olympics build-up; however, the fact that the World Cup was held there 2014 diminished Rio and Brazil as an exotic destination and the Olympics as an unmatched global sporting spectacle.

There’s also been a ‘Chiller effect’, whereby our nation’s high profile Chief of Mission, Kitty Chiller, has stressed that humility and effort take precedence over outright performance when it comes to Team Australia. The message to athletes and the public was to chill out and turn it down a notch.

I never believed that the Olympics would showcase ‘the best of humanity’, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon proclaimed. But as the Rio Games draws to a close, I’m feeling pretty good about them and the human condition in general.

The Games were a triumph for Australian and other athletes because there’s less of the psychological pressure that so often contributes to injury, under-performance and dummy spits. There’s been no equivalent of Jana drama Pittmann, the swimmers have been wonderfully gracious in defeat, the Kookaburras performed poorly, but “them’s the breaks”. Anna Meares won bronze, fantastic. Inspirational Kim Brennan rowed for gold, but if she had stopped and lay down exhausted like Sally Robbins, I sense we would be more understanding than we were in 2004.

Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt won, which is great. However, they’re arguably on an Olympic victory lap having already established their places in history; so no problem if they didn’t medal.

Taking some of the hype out of the Olympics has also been a victory for me as a fan precisely because the Olympics is often over-hyped. Lowering my expectations has helped me to consume the Games in a salubrious and moderate manner rather than binge and obsess over them. I’ve been able to watch much of the live action over (extended) morning tea or lunch breaks. I haven’t woken up bleary eyed and exhausted. Nor has my family and work life suffered. I’ve still got plenty of energy and interest left for the Paralympics. And I’ve even been able to play a bit of sport.

This measured and healthy approach to elite sports is worth keeping in mind with the footy finals almost here and Tokyo 2020 on the horizon.

Have you been overwhelmed or underwhelmed by Rio 2016? What have been your highlights and lowlights – or has it all just been OK? When it comes to sport and life, is avoiding disappointment as (if not more) valuable as pursuing glorious victory?

Kim Huynh teaches international relations at the ANU. Insights to this article were provided by philosophy student and punk rocker Duncan Stuart.

 

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
11 Responses to
Rio 2016: The best Olympics ever!
dungfungus 12:40 pm 22 Aug 16

John Moulis said :

Mysteryman said :

The constant Olympics news/coverage can get tiresome, but it’s nothing compared to hearing people whine about the money and effort spent on the Olympics. If there was a gold medal for that, we’d have it.

How do you know you’ve landed in Australia? The engines stop but the whining continues…

That’s an old pommy migrant joke John but applicable here too.

John Moulis 10:18 am 22 Aug 16

Mysteryman said :

The constant Olympics news/coverage can get tiresome, but it’s nothing compared to hearing people whine about the money and effort spent on the Olympics. If there was a gold medal for that, we’d have it.

How do you know you’ve landed in Australia? The engines stop but the whining continues…

Mysteryman 9:46 am 22 Aug 16

The constant Olympics news/coverage can get tiresome, but it’s nothing compared to hearing people whine about the money and effort spent on the Olympics. If there was a gold medal for that, we’d have it.

dungfungus 2:23 pm 21 Aug 16

Funny how the young lady who no one had heard of (via the media anyway) wins a gold medal in the pentathlon which is immediately claimed by “Australia”.
At the same time the media has relentlessly focused on “our elite athletes” with celebrity status who overwhelmingly have failed to deliver.

gooterz 1:38 pm 21 Aug 16

GoneGirl said :

Heavs said :

That ad on Gruen last night nailed it for me. Circa $400m for some temporary happiness because some bird we have never met can run a bit faster than some bird we’ve never met from another country. Much better things to spend it on. Maybe on building infrastructure (pools, hockey fields etc) or making it less expensive for kids to play sport. Participation of a greater % of society should be the goal – not two weeks of eating maccas on the couch.

Ditto. How much money do we spend on training a golden few and sending them to competitions all over the world, including the Olympics?

Is our self worth as a nation really about how fast one person can swim 400 meters or run?

We need to do better as a Nation but not in the Olympics or sport.

The only way to get olympic class athletes is wide spread sports participation. If you to send any then it shames ur country for not being part of the game.

The fact that Australia is dropping off the medal tally should mean we increase funding to ground roots sports for children.

Japan wanted to catch up so they basically adopted our blueprint for AIS.

Without the Olympics many counties would just stop sports and send the kids to work.

What needs to stop is the corruption in international sporting bodies.

GoneGirl 2:13 pm 18 Aug 16

Heavs said :

That ad on Gruen last night nailed it for me. Circa $400m for some temporary happiness because some bird we have never met can run a bit faster than some bird we’ve never met from another country. Much better things to spend it on. Maybe on building infrastructure (pools, hockey fields etc) or making it less expensive for kids to play sport. Participation of a greater % of society should be the goal – not two weeks of eating maccas on the couch.

Ditto. How much money do we spend on training a golden few and sending them to competitions all over the world, including the Olympics? Is our self worth as a nation really about how fast one person can swim 400 meters or run?

We need to do better as a Nation but not in the Olympics or sport.

Heavs 1:03 pm 18 Aug 16

That ad on Gruen last night nailed it for me. Circa $400m for some temporary happiness because some bird we have never met can run a bit faster than some bird we’ve never met from another country. Much better things to spend it on. Maybe on building infrastructure (pools, hockey fields etc) or making it less expensive for kids to play sport. Participation of a greater % of society should be the goal – not two weeks of eating maccas on the couch.

JC 12:40 pm 18 Aug 16

dungfungus said :

JC said :

I am shocked. The Olympics uncovered widespread corruption in Brazil. Next you will be writing and article about the World Cup in Qatar and making the same ground breaking revelation.

My post referred only to Olympic Games corruption, not the corruption endemic to Brazil.
I have already commented about that in other threads.

I was replying to the OP. If I were replying to your post I would have quoted it.

dungfungus 10:58 am 18 Aug 16

JC said :

I am shocked. The Olympics uncovered widespread corruption in Brazil. Next you will be writing and article about the World Cup in Qatar and making the same ground breaking revelation.

My post referred only to Olympic Games corruption, not the corruption endemic to Brazil.
I have already commented about that in other threads.

JC 8:52 am 18 Aug 16

I am shocked. The Olympics uncovered widespread corruption in Brazil. Next you will be writing and article about the World Cup in Qatar and making the same ground breaking revelation.

dungfungus 8:31 am 18 Aug 16

Whatever happened to the original Olympic mantra of “the important thing is to take part, not to win….”
This went out the door when professional athletes were admitted to the games and along with the involvement of money comes the inevitable corruption
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-17/brazilian-police-arrest-irish-ioc-member-in-ticket-probe/7760818
All the games seem to do is impose a huge financial impost on the host nation. There did not appear to be many spectators at some of the events either. It’s no longer a “people’s games”.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site