Celebrating last-place finishes at the Olympics. Because they're there, and you're not.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Our Focus on Losing

Rick Salutin in yesterday's Globe and Mail:
What separates us from those ancient Greeks is not our focus on winning, which the original Olympics also celebrated, but on losing. It's as if there is no merit in loss, since, as U.S. sports icon Vince Lombardi theorized, winning is "the only thing." Losing is stigmatized, there can be nothing of value in it and you ought to doubt yourself if you think there might be. You can hear a note of doubt creep into Olympic athletes' voices when they speak about their pride at having done their best even though they didn't win, as if they sense their compatriots squinting back in disbelief or scorn, implying they're making excuses and should just hang their heads or go soak them. Or they sound puzzled -- since they feel they have fulfilled the Olympic ideal, which certainly involves competition. . . . In the Greek model, there was glory to winners but not ignominy for losers.
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