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Friday, February 24, 2006

Save us from perfection

Thank goodness the Olympics are almost history. Maybe now the public can recover from its mania for perfection.

Take the women's figure skating, for example. The USA's Sasha Cohen is a failure for falling twice and only finishing second. Russia's Irina Slutskaya is a failure after falling once, settling for third. Other top skaters stumbled, including the two other Americans. Only Japan's Shizuka Arakawa didn't mess up, so she won the gold.

Isn't finishing second or third or even competing in the Olympics, with the whole world watching as you skate alone for four minutes, an achievement? Why do we saddle our athletes with the burden of being perfect? A baseball player can make the Hall of Fame by failing to get a hit more than 7 out of 10 times. The top football quarterback doesn't complete every pass. Same goes in any sport.

Vince Lombardi said, "Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing.'' Maybe if we didn't make perfection the only thing, athletes would enjoy themselves more. I didn't see many unforced smiles on the faces of the women skaters. That's sad.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The job of a figure skater is to be perfect. If they cannot handle that pressure and obligation, then, they should pick up another sport. You mention baseball - where they can screw up every now and then.

11:39 AM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound like a refined Bode Miller - the result doesn't matter as long as you enjoy the trip (no pun intended). Would you rather they strive for mediocrity?

1:50 PM, February 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you crazy? That's the nature of winning in figure skating - to be perfect. Whereas the nature of winning in baseball or football is to be great, but you can mess up every now and then.

12:24 AM, March 01, 2006  

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