Olympics = Close to Perfection?

I have always wondered what ‘Perfection’ looked like – rather, is there anyone in the world doing the perfect thing or is there a perfect person? As a child, I had always been taught a maxim, which I have held dear over the course of many years –

Perfection is the Goal;

Nature tolerates Excellence.

Over the years, I have come to believe the adage to be true – we are really built to become perfect beings, but never are due to a variety of reasons – laziness being the prime among them. Not having any perfect role model/never seeing anything perfect might also have been one of the reasons. Achieving a level of maturity to understand what is ‘perfect’ is also one of the reasons. This Olympics, for whatever reason, has taught me what ‘perfect’ is meant to be.

Olympics is unique among sports events. It is a sporting extravaganza. For 15 days, the eyes of the world would be on who’s who of sports. Make no mistake, each and everyone participating in the Olympic events are the best their countries could come up with. All the players would have practiced for years together to showcase their talent in this particular event – an event through which they would be known forever. The kind of pressure and media-hype the players have to go through and yet perform to the best they can is what makes these Olympic events even more special. The winners of these events even more so.

As I watched Michael ‘The Phenom’ Phelps race towards his 8th gold medal in a single Olympics, Usain ‘Thunder’ Bolt thunder across the 100m race to break the world record, Shaun ‘Magical’ Johnson providing the perfect momentum for the US gymnastics team with her graceful, yet stupendous performance and many many more reach medal after medal, I understood that this was being as close to perfect as it can get in Sports.

Rules of Nature are simple, aren’t they? Hardwork and dedication (along with the oldest saying I ever heard ‘Practice makes man Perfect’) is all it takes to be ‘perfect’ in almost any discipline. And yet, it is so very surprising that we are content with just above average (which means, more or less ‘mediocrity’) to spend all our lives. Yet, these sportsmen battle it out, day after day, year after year for the greatest glory in Sports – to participate in the Olympics, and win a medal for themselves (and their countries). What drives them? Is it the money, is it fame? Would you or I want to exchange the best part of our lives (most Olympians are below the age of 30 and on average, would have practiced in that particular discipline for atleast 10-15 years) for money and fame – which again, is only based on winning a medal and not just participating? I think not. What is the probability of winning – 1 in a billion atleast; and what happens if you don’t win the medal after all that effort? You are treated as a loser (atleast in India), someone who could not perform at the highest level and thereby bringing down country’s name (whatever that means!). Yet, the same players pick themselves up and brace for another day, another competition and another event. Hardwork, practice, dedication – again and again and again.

That spirit, my dear friends, makes them perfect – and to all the players who have made it to the Olympics – I salute you!

P.S: There was an advertisement that was telecast a few years back in India – it went something like ‘Do you know the value of 0.1 sec? Ask an Olympian who won the silver and hence lost gold’. After the 100m butterfly event involving Phelps in Olympics 2008, I think it should be changed to ‘Do you know the value of 0.001 sec? Ask Milorad Cavic who won the silver, and hence lost Gold to Phelps!!’ 0.001 sec? 0.001 sec? Surely gotta be kidding, right? 🙂


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