Friday, August 3, 2012

Proudly.... Something

I, along with the rest of the world (both free and un-free I suspect), have been watching the Olympics. I’ve enjoyed watching swimming, where the hair of a second can make you a winner or a loser; laughed about the Spanish warm-up suits (which were donated by the same designer who did the Russian and Ukrainian warms up… even the Spanish complained via Twitter); and of course, I loved being in another country and experiencing the games in a foreign land.

First off, I’m not watching NBC. There’s no Bob Costas, Meredith Viera or the rest of the familiar faces and voices that I know from watching American TV.  Instead, in South Africa we get a patchwork of English language announcers from Australia, the UK and the US. Swimming stats are squawked from two Aussies, their flattened Fs , garggly Gs, and mealy Ms punctuating every sentence.  The Brits have taken more civilized pursuits – rowing coverage comes from the UK. And what’s American? Gymnastics, of course!

Chad le Clos
I have also felt great pride at the amazing accomplishments of my country. My poor other half has grown tired of seeing the “stars and bars” rise on a regular basis - I taught him that one, now he’s using it. Although he has yet to belt out “Oh, say can you see…” This feeling comes not just from all the medals we have won (as of right now the US is near the top of the medal count) but all of the medal winners from around the world that my nation has helped shape. Many swimmers from other nations train in the US, as do runners and rowers and lots of other competitors. I don’t know if I fully realized that until I lived in a nation that sends many of its best athletes to train in the US.

Beyond that, watching the Olympic games from afar also gives me the perspective of another country competing in the games…. one that sent just 125 athletes to the games (the US sent 530). The South African team is certainly not shabby – they have three gold medals so far, including one from Chad le Clos that many had already anointed to super-Olympian Michael Phelps. As they say here - about everything, not just their athletes - proudly South African.

Chad le Clos photo from: Gallo Images &

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