Olympics

United States
August 11, 2008 12:17pm CST
Have things come to such a frenzy among Olympians that they seem unlike anyone else on earth? When they discuss their preparations, they often tell of giving up absolutley everything so they can concentrate on their performance. If more than half of every day is spent in vigorous practice, when does an Olympian get to be human and just have a life? Many talk of leaving their families and moving in with their coaches so they can be in preparation every minute of every day. If someone put that much effort into something else, instead of being honored as an outstanding athlete, would they be examined as an OCD patient?
1 person likes this
9 responses
@tthom64 (535)
• United States
12 Aug 08
I think that this kind of training would be too much for most kids. And I'm sure any athlete has those days when they don't think they can do it anymore. But if they spend this much time at something, they must really love it. I kind of envy them being able to spend that much time on something they love. I work all day too and its on stuff I hate like housework. Being an Olympian will be over for most athletes by their mid-twenties, then they can do other things.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Aug 08
When do they get to be kids? They usually start long before they have the maturity to make choices for themselves, so their parents are probably living vicariously through these little kids. Sure, it's sometimes fun, but most of the time it's hard, hard work. That leaves no time for a childhood!
@tthom64 (535)
• United States
13 Aug 08
Yeah, I know, it seems like they miss out on their childhood. But I know I'd never be able to "make" my kids do anything that long unless they wanted to too. I guess all kids are different though. I'm with you, I'd rather let them wait til they are a little older to make their own choice. Like you see some of those snowboarders in the winter olympics and you just know that they do it cuz they love it and wouldn't want to be doing anything else. But these little gymnast girls or ice skating girls, you kind of wonder huh?
• Philippines
12 Aug 08
Good day... I think that athletes are giving their best and all when it comes to the olympics because it's not only their name is at stake but also the name of their country. They need discipline and concentration through out their training.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Aug 08
Of course they do! Please read the other responses, to see why it's a problem. Those who are old enough to make these commitments are incredible! But little ones who are plunged into the life of training and not living aren't being allowed to be kids. Maybe if they were a bit older, it wouldn't stick in my throat, but when they can't make the decisions, it's not right for someone else's decision to steal their childhoods and stunt their growth.
@shinymood (406)
• China
12 Aug 08
Hi,my friend. My mom used to like athletes so much that she was looking forward to the possiblity of her grandchildren becoming athletes too. I told her to think of the hardship and the life of an athlete instead of looking at the glamor he/she shows on stage. She finally come to know this and gave up of the idea. It's not an easy and promising job but the world needs it. Sports somehow symbolize part of human being's warrior spirits. I watched a talk show of the first gold prize winner in China which is my country. She comes from a poor remote village and her parents work very hard to keep ends meet. This lady chose weight-lifting as her career and eventually won the Olympic gold medal! It's surely very hard for her to get this medal. She is reported that she had only been home 3 times within 12 years! But with this honor and prize, her life has changed to be the better and so her whole family benefits. Every trade has heroes and so does sports. They are not OCD patient lol but people who take sport as their life career.
• United States
12 Aug 08
Shinymood, you pointed out something very important. The young lady of whom you write CHOSE weightlifting. She wasn't made to work at it from age 3 or even younger. That choice makes all the difference. I'm proud of our athletes, too, and I love the way their work encourages other children to work out and play sports and stay healthy. I just can't agree with totally sacrificing one's life when they're not even old enough to participate in the decision. Many people would gladly push themselves to and beyond their limits for their own satisfaction, and many more to bring honor to their families and their countries. Again, though, it's pushing themselves, not some grown person making them do it.
• Philippines
12 Aug 08
Great discussion here! As a former athlete myself, the drive of becoming the best is the main reason why athletes do anything and everything to win. I don't think that it is a case of OCD...Too much pride I guess...
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Aug 08
I can't help worrying about the way the kids get started before they could possibly participate in the decision, then destroy their childhoods and possibly their entire lives for such total concentration on athletics.
@guybrush (4661)
• Australia
12 Aug 08
It seems like madness. In Australia, university students struggle to pay their fees, and often have to work late into the night in order to make a bit of money for books and lodging. If you are an elite athlete, however, you are taxpayer funded at the sports institute. I often wonder why the athletes are not asked to repay some of that debt when they become 'famous' and are making millions through endorsements - but it doesnt work like that, whereas university students have a huge HECS debt which they begin paying back as soon as they begin their working life. It doesn't seem very fair, somehow. Our country celebrates sportsmen, but not academics.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Aug 08
Doesn't it seem as if all countries do that? Athletes bring in money, so they're treated specially by universities, too. Values seem a little warped here!
@leenie50 (3992)
• United States
12 Aug 08
Cobra, You amaze me with your thoughts. Does your brilliant mind ever take a break? I too wonder what makes these young people give up their lives to pursue this seemingly unattainable trophy. How does it affect their lives emotionally and psychologically once this pursuit is over? I know that I will never understand this need to be the best at whatever one feels the need to pursue. What pressure they place on themselves. Whatever makes you happy! Good luck tomorrow, your first day back. leenie
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• United States
12 Aug 08
Can they ever be just normal people? I doubt it! These decisions are mode for them before they're old enough to understand the consequences, and their physical and mental growth is stunted by overworking their bodies so hard. Thanks for the good wishes. I eft early today, because none of the things I needed to work with were available. I got my keys, set up the desks and got the computer going, but that's about all I could do until whoever has the keys to the supply closets shows up.
@gabbana (1815)
• China
11 Aug 08
hello, first please tell me what is a OCD patient, what does it stand for. second, you have a point there. they spend much of their time on coaching, sports have become a career for them, the solely goal at least in short term. third, i wonder, if they put all that energy on developing cities or scientif research or welfare activities or volunteer schemes, wouldn't it be more fruitful?
• United States
11 Aug 08
Hi gabbana! OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder. It's a mental illness that forces patients who have it to repeat the same behaviors again and again, until that can become the entire focus of their lives. Nothing else matters much. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the focus of some peopple's OCD were making the world a better place, as you suggest? We'd all benefit so much!
@gabbana (1815)
• China
11 Aug 08
oh , thank you , i got that. i've heard of it, but only in my mother tongue. and monica in the play "FRIENDS" is a little OCD, she insists the pad be put right where they were, and things like that. thank you. have a good day.
@aureliaz (1179)
• Singapore
12 Aug 08
Hmm..When I think of obsessive compulsive disorders, I think more on the lines of annoying habits that can't be shaken off. But it is different for the Olympians- this is their passion, their chance for glory, their talents, their efforts and basically their life. So I believe it's quite hard to compare with a hypothetical situation like the one you proposed. Many forget that the media and government can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Olympians as well; forget about the inhuman training they are put through from a young age and the mental conditioning they have undergone- take the Chinese shooters for instance. Two World No. 1s crumbled- Qihan who won the male's gold in Athens had to settle for silver and the female number one faced with the onslaught of the Chinese public and media, fell to 5th place and both left crying. I guess what I am trying to say is that there are a lot of factors that are contributing to the preparations and performances of the Olympians so it's fairly difficult to judge- though I do agree with your sentiment about the athletes leading a normal life..maybe when they retire? Sporting careers are not exactly the most long-lived...
@academic2 (7010)
• Uganda
12 Aug 08
I mean Olympics comes once in four years-if giving all best means missing out on other human tendencies, so be it! Remember, the acolade of a gold brings glory to both the individuals and the national flag, so olympic is not as small matter as it appears-it deserves everything!
• United States
12 Aug 08
The Olympics are certainly not unimportant or insignificant. My concern is with the total commitment that robs children of their childhoods, and often their health. If they were old enough to parcipate in the decision when they were starting out, fine, but most of them are much too young to understand things in the context of a lifetime, and they're in it all the way! Childhood is important, and people who miss out on it are seldom healthy adults.