A Changed Game

July 28, 2008

As the Olympics draw closer and closer, through observing the US’s olympic preparation, I noticed the distinct differences between todays athletes and yesterday’s legends. One difference that really divided me were the physical differences. Watching the Olympic track and field trials, I noticed the build the runners had. They looked like hulks compared to the brawny runners of the past, their stick-like arms and long legs making long and fast strides. And although this new breed of runners doesn’t exactly look like the stereotype 1970’s sprinters, they can certainly sprint like them — and these days, they can do it faster. It seems like all the news stories in track and field these days are either someone breaking a record, or someone using steroids, but none the less, this kind of popularity definitely doesn’t hurt the sport. For me, it also makes it exciting. Reviewing the old tapes of the 70’s and 80’s was fun for me (I wasn’t even close to being alive then), but more fun is watching the races live. I am one of the many people who welcome this new change in sports — and there will certainly be more to come.

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To me, the definition of Olympic sports is uniting the world to play something that isn’t political. Sports was created to be the triumph of the individual or the team, and now, today it has escalated to the worst thing in my mind that could happen to an athlete. Thursday the IOC confirmed the suspension that they gave to Iraq in June. Their reason? Political interference. This decision devastated Iraqi sprinter Dana Hussein as well as other Iraqi athletes that trained years for their moment. Trying to comfort Dana, her coach reasoned with her, saying that she can run in 2012. Her response: “I don’t know if I will alive then.”

Until the world can drop their egos for a common purpose, sports will never be the same and it is certainly a shame that is has to be this way.