Thursday, August 14, 2008

Faster, higher, stronger AND screwed over

For the last 3 days, I have been non-stop obsessed over the Olympics. I love watching any and all events - particularly women's gymnastics; I've been following the dramas, trials and tribulations of the US and Chinese teams.
Oh and I love the side dramas too:

  1. substituting a cuter girl to lip sync the Chinese national anthem during the opening ceremony.
  2. the Spanish team stretching the outside of their eye lids to mimic chinky Asian eyes
  3. the poor dancer who was going to be the only solo dance performer among the synchronized masses, falling to permanent paralysis during a practice the day before the opening ceremony because of a faulty platform
  4. as well as the thousands upon thousands of poor washed up Chinese Olympic hopefuls, raised in a government run sports camp that never make it - either end up with injuries, paralyzed and always with no other skills to fall back on.
(Some don't even know how to read!) They are separated from their parents at a young age, like 3. They're tortured on a daily basis and fed nationalistic propaganda with promises of fame and riches. Many get washed up at various ages (some as young as 8, as they're cast aside for more talented hopefuls), they end up disabled and/or impoverished. The Chinese are using a cruel numbers game on the race for Olympic gold. Nobody is approaching Olympic training this way so I can't see how in like 10 years, the Chinese will just win in every event. For every Cheng Fei, there are literally thousands who sacrificed their entire lives for unrealized dreams.

Still, watching the Olympians compete, it gives me such pride in the human body; what it can do with training and perserverance.

I'm generally lazy but I've been doing these intense 25 minute workouts every other day because it helps me sleep and keeps me sane. Tonight before I started my workout, I was ready to punch the wall but now I feel like giving my husband and the world a hug. I ran on an incline on a treadmill for 30 minutes straight. Then I did 4 sets of 50 modified sit ups. Now I'm ready for a cool shower and then I'm going to watch the Olympics. They really are torturing my sleep deprived mind and body by running events until 1AM.


farnk said...

I don't think the general public is aware of how stringent the Chinese training regimen is. It can seem cruel to a Western mind to separate children at such a young age from their home but the Chinese are so success driven that this overrides their other emotions. And I think we, with our capitalist society, made them this way.
This blog is so thoughtfully written you should be a magazine columnist!

Azryelle Asterius said...

Chinese training reginmen is pretty sad. I totally agree with you on this. I felt so bad for that chinese girl that fell during the floor excersise routine, and how she was crying afterwards. Sam commented on how they coach probably threatened to kill her family after that fall. Poor child.

But on the upside watching these olympics makes me awe at what the human body is capable of.

js said...

I have to say that I watch the olympics partly to see the sport of it, but more to see the emotional trial of the athletes. I am probably most impressed by athletes who don't make it to the gold, but who seem to have the best attitudes with the whole situation ... I thought that Dara Torres was exceptional and inspiring for her emotional maturity and depth of character (from the few words I heard her speak).

Farnk said...

I like the comment by js even though I don't know about Dara Torres (is she a gymnast?) Full disclosure: js and I are related (my son.) Some ofthe competitors are real characters like Hosayne (sic) Bolt. Look at the antics you can act out if your a winner...andwhat a winner! I never saw someone leave the pack like that in all the years I've watched the Olympics.

js said...

Dara Torres is a swimmer - won 3 silver medals I think. SHE'S 41 years old!