Olympics as much about losing as winning

Emily Bialkowski
Argus Managing Editor

The 2012 Olympic games have become all about the losers. It’s a theme that emerged right from the start after the British lost the very first event of the games, the men’s road race.

The bicycle race was a brutal 155-plus mile trek that wound past London’s historic monuments, out to the countryside, around hilltops and back past Buckingham Palace.

The Brits were feeling quite favorable about their team’s likely winner, Mark Cavendish. He’s the reigning world champion and a three-time stage winner at this year’s Tour de France. Needless to say, he did not win; in fact, he placed 29.

Then Michael Phelps, a youthful American with 19 Olympic swimming medals, who after the 2008 Beijing Olympics decided he was burnt out, demonstrated a lack luster performance that in no way simulated the spectacle he exhibited four years prior. Another American, Ryan Lochte, is winning but not receiving nearly the attention that his red, white and blue counterpart is for losing.

And finally, American gymnast  Jordyn Weiber, reigning world champion in the all-around, sobbed after she realized she did not qualify for the Olympic all-around. Her teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman will represent the United States in that competition instead.

It took several minutes for the distraught 17-year-old to compose herself enough to speak with reporters.

“It is a bit of a disappointment,” Weiber told the media. “It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final of the Olympics, but I’m proud of Aly and Gabby and happy that they reached the all-around and that I was able to help the team get to the finals.”

To have invested so much time, money, sweat and tears for one moment and then to lose…

Life is often about loss, and perhaps that is why the 2012 Olympics up to this point is all about dealing with it.

We all lose in some capacity as we navigate this world. We lose games, we lose keys, we lose our favorite pair of sunglasses. We lose strength and flexibility, we lose mobility, we lose memory and sometimes we lose the life of someone we deeply love.

All these athletes are still great.  They compete on the most difficult stage in the world where only one person or team actually wins.

Our fascination with these losers is a reflection of our desire to make sense of the losses we experience every day.

Like us, they remain great even in loss.


You can contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]