By Manas Maisnam
Recently a friend of mine commented that Olympics is like a multi-starrer Bollywood blockbuster, where countries like USA and China are the superstars and other countries appear as extras (or junior artistes in Bollywood parlance). This interesting analogy is true, if we look at the medals tally. The medal tally is indeed very much top-heavy. Till the time of writing this note, China and USA are on the top of the medal tally with a total of 90 (39 gold) and 81 (37 gold) medals respectively to their kitty. The country at the 3rd place viz., Great Britain has a total of 56 medals (25 gold), 25 medals less than its immediate predecessor! In fact, out of the 205 countries participating in London Olympics 2012, only about 10 countries will get gold medals in double digit number. At the final medal count, majority of the countries in the tally will end up at single bronze heap.
But seen from a different perspective, the Bollywood analogy also holds true. Most of the junior artistes do not land at Mumbai to work in that role. They all reached the city with a dream to earn fame as a successful star. But the majority of them could not succeed and eventually, they ended up as a chorus dancer in some item song picturisation. On a similar note, all the players from 205 countries landed at London with a firm determination to win gold medals for their respective countries. Starting from the 8 months pregnant Malayasian shooter, to women athletes in scarf to Paralympic Oscar Pistorious it was a single-minded obsession, sweat & blood, which had enabled them to qualify for the world’s biggest sports event. It is not the few days that they had participated which mattered. Beyond that lies years of hard work, sacrifice, tears and failures. But they never lost hope and tried to up the peg with each attempt; just like a spring, which jumped up with extraordinary force after being compressed, their performance improved after each failure.
When the players compete, they gave their best performance to the game/ event. Many of them could not win medals because other athletes better than them were there to occupy the first 3 places. In fact, none of the players are losers. They are just ranked lower in comparison to their peers in their respective category. Here, I am reminded of a narration of the Mahabharata war by a renowned ‘wari leeba’ (traditional story teller of Manipur). Describing the first day of the Kurushetra war, he said that none of the warriors starting from foot soldier to the ‘Atirathi’ (top warrior), ever thought of trying to escape from the actions of the fierce war. They were all charged up with a fiery motivation to single-handedly defeat the enemy and bring victory for their side, thereby immortalizing their name in the history for the brave act.
It is that same motivation which has kept the numerous Olympians in action. Some of them succeed. Many of them don’t. But they never lose hope. After all it is a matter of only four years to the next event. Who knows, the player who had failed now might emerge victorious after four years…..It is on this hope that the spirit of Olympics lives. That is the “Olympics Dream”….