Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Funday: Reaching For The Gold

By the time some of our readers see these pixels on Friday, the crowds will already be gathering in London at the new Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 games.

We have to admit - for at least one American, the last few days haven't exactly been the best warm-up period. Mitt Romney's trip to London so far has been a public relations disaster, with headlines both in the UK and the U.S. savaging the former governor for a continuing series of embarrassing gaffes.

When the London Daily Mail's Political Director quotes unnamed British government officials - on Twitter - as saying that Romney is "Worse than Sarah Palin," you know Mr. Romney hasn't exactly had a great day. If positive and effective self-promotion were an Olympic sport, right now Mitt Romney wouldn't even make it inside the stadium, let alone onto the podium.

Still, as this is Friday, we're determined to be positive - and whether or not you agree with the way Mitt Romney used U.S. government subsidies to save the 2002 Olympic games, he did help those games to be very successful. In fact, the 2002 games were the last successful Olympics held in the U.S. of either kind, Winter or Summer.

For our staff, the Olympics remind us of some of the best things we enjoy about sports, media, and humanity all rolled into one.

Most of the athletes aren't highly paid divas. They're like student athletes at small schools. They have their own local fans, and they give every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears they can muster. Most people in the world still don't know them, though. That's where the modern media comes in.

On practically every screen you can imagine, and from every audio platform available, the way Olympic sports are presented to the world - especially here in America - are a true testament to what is possible in broadcasting. Nearly every athlete for the U.S. has some kind of profile worked up on them. Many have video and audio packages produced around their life stories, and their struggles to make it to The Games. Virtually every athlete from every nation has some statistics compiled from their past performances - and every nation has their own profile developed too.

Sure, there's a lot of pomp and fanfare. When the majority of the world takes a break from being our normal, antagonistic, war-like selves, we tend to agree that there are few better reasons for a world-shaking celebration.

So for today and this weekend, whether you're reaching for the gold in London, reaching for the TV remote at home, or just reaching for more political excuses wherever you are, we hope that you'll also join us in reaching out to your fellow citizens, from whatever your home country is, in a gesture of peace and friendship.

As Baron Pierre De Coubertin once said, "The most important thing is not to win but to take part!"

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