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Olympics 08: One world, one dream

One word. Spectacular.

What a display of color, coordination and technology! I can’t help but restate an overused line by news anchors, China was really out to show the world that it has indeed emerged. Whew, the beginning of the ceremony was so magnificient a show of coordinated acts, it was mind-boggling! The sheer number of participants, and I don’t mean the athletes, was impressive. The end was even better. The last runner in the torch relay was air-lifted through 75 feet and impressionated running on a vertical screen around the radius of the stadium! I wish I had witnessed it first-hand in the Bird’s Nest.

Anyway, it was rather disappointing to see India send in a really tiny contingent. 57 people. Out of a population of 1.13 billion and counting. Our hockey team didn’t qualify. Our weight-lifter is in trouble. Unfortunately, there’s no cricket. All hopes rest with our shooters and our tennis champs. 4 years ago, it was only a silver. This year, we want more, praythee.

It raises a lot of questions for us. About the country, the opportunities, the facilities, the motivation. Even corruption. If you flip through news channels right now, you’ll hear lots of debates and discussions. It’s a heated topic. It’s also a blame game. The Olympics Committee blames everyone else. And vice versa. Well, we’re a team, remember? Think about it. Think about the best athletes in your school. I bet you, they are going to a very academic college, working towards a professional degree, hoping to get a high paying job. Athletics / sports is out of the picture. Right?

I suppose we can’t blame them. All of us are scoping for a decent career. You can be an average executive and live a comfortable life. You’re doomed if you turn out to be just an average athlete among them champions. The lack of motivation and respect, and the risk of failure. How are potential sportspeople to overcome that, sacrifice a major part of ‘normal’ education, and dedicate themselves to sports? Plus the corruption, the lack of funds and a dismal infrastructure. I am more than certain that among a billion people, we can surely harness more athletes than 57. And all going for gold.

I hope Olympics 2008 is a wake-up call.

By the way, I hadn’t known the significance of the Olympics logo until now. It was sketched by an 18-year old student, back in the 60s, when it was first used at the Olympic Games in Rome. It signifies the unison of the 5 continents. Hence the slogan, One World, One Dream.

PS – The Chinese contingent, by far the largest at this year’s games, consists of 1100 athletes. Versus our 57. God bless.

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After 7 years of quitting my full-time corporate job and travelling the world, I've written a book - called The Shooting Star - about my journey. This book of untold travel stories charts my adventures from the cubicle to the road, and from small-town India to remote corners of the globe. Limited copies are now available for pre-order on Amazon and Flipkart. Drop me a note if you end up pre-ordering yours today! Connect with me on Instagram/Twitter @shivya.

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