While watching the Olympics, a friend and I got into a small debate over the magnitude of being an Olympic medalist, as opposed to other sports championships.
Now while I'm a complete and total sports nut, I give total props where they're due. Looking at all the different sports championships, I believe the Olympics is the greatest of all. Let's think about what it takes just to make it to the podium.
While the NFL. MLB, NBA, NHL, and even all NCAA sports all have awesome athletes, in EACH of these sports a person on said team can claim to be a "champion", technically they're right...you were a member of the team that won the championship. However, in each of these sports...there are people who never play a down, run a base, sink a 3, take a slapshot who obtain the title of champion. I was watching a painful program that followed the (UGH) Cowboys through training camp....They made a reference to the ONLY superbowl champion on their current roster being a guy who was on the New York Giants practice squad last season...the PRACTICE SQUAD. Point made!!
To be a medalist in the Olympics, you have to run the gauntlet. First you spend 4 years trying to earn the right to qualify for ANY sport in the Olympics. Once qualified for an Olympic sport and now in the Olympics...an athlete has to compete in several qualifying events just to make it to the final. Competing in the final are the single most elite athletes in that sport, the best in the world competing for 3 spots. So you won a bronze....ehhh the bronze is 3rd place..NO! The bronze is the 3rd best in the WORLD, meaning only 2 other people on earth are better than you. Yay...I won a silver...hey 2nd place is better than nothing....NO! The silver means you were within reach of greatness, you are better than everyone on earth except ONE person. Now let's look at the gold....an Olympic gold medalist is the pinnacle. You've outlasted and outworked the rest of the world. Not a person on earth is better than you. You spend years just to make it to the Olympics, then you spent all you had to qualify to compete for the medal...then in that competition of ALL the best in the world..YOU came out 1st. It's freakish, it's ridiculous, it's INSANE!!! You weren't on the practice squad, you weren't a backup, you competed, you won, you are THE BEST!!
I just don't feel that ANY athlete can compare themselves to that of an Olympic medalist. I mean let's face it...the NBA and MLB have guys DYING to make the team just to get that medal and in the basketball and baseball held at the Olympics...the ONLY people who get medals are those who COMPETE...it's so highly devised, not even a coach gets a medal...that's how big of a deal it is. If you didn't play, you don't get shit!! So next time you think...ehhh, the Olympics are ok, I guess....remember that there's NO OTHER athlete on earth that's on their level!!!! I mean hell.....try to spell Olympics with a lower case "o"...you get an error a typo...capitalize that shit!! Yeah, it's a big deal.