Thursday, August 18, 2016

Radio Talk: Is the money spent on the Olympics worth it?





Oh I love a bit of talkback radio drama, especially when it's about stuff that's not abusive to anyone else. The Olympics discussion is the perfect kind.

The shockjocks all came out with the great big question of 'Is it worth the money?' instantly you get some people calling up saying, no, we should spend it on something else. But I expect they are the same people who don't like fireworks or art or museums.

Others think it's ok if the money spent is returned with medal winning (gold preferred) performances.

As for me, I love the Olympics. I watched the entire opening ceremony and my girls loved it too, it was the first one they have really seen, I have no idea where we were for London four years ago, but I don't remember watching it. We learnt stuff about Brazil that we wouldn't usually hear, watched the spectacular, and how great was it that they are going to grow an Olympic forest with 11,000 trees to represent each of the athletes.

Then we get to watch all the events. Kids don't always get to see top athletes compete, they don't get to think about what all those swimming lessons at school might actually lead to if they really really wanted it to.

An active life can be a hard sell to some kids and adults, but the Olympics is a reminder of the fun in moving, whatever you do.

There are great athletes who leave the games without medals, but wow, to be able to claim you are 6th in the world, or you made an Olympic final, that's got to be pretty fantastic. At times there are only hundredths of a second between first and 8th. Which is when you can chat about decimal places and timings in a way that isn't so difficult to understand with your kids. These teeny little details all group together to make the Olympics worth watching.

Is the money worth it for the Olympics? I don't know, but I can't think of any other time and place around the world where 207 countries (including the Refugee team) come together for a few weeks peacefully. To share customs, to meet other nations, to compete and shake hands at the end of it. You can count all the medals you like, but none of them will show the benefits of seeing the world work together, however briefly. The Olympics is that place where history is made by good people doing spectacular things, for some that means pushing their body to levels never seen before, but for others it means showing that humans are capable of extreme empathy, support, kindness and peace to whoever needs them. It can be when statements are made about wrongs occurring throughout the world or a light can be made very shinny in the face of evil.

There are also all those topics that can be discussed, like men's rowing outfits, the torso of flag bearers, the swimmer who towed a boat of refugees to Greece for three hours just to be alive, how does the cycling event even work?

Whatever we spend on the Olympics, it's probably not enough.




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