• Sumo

By Ken Reed

There are plenty of good and bad things about the overly commercial and political Olympic Games. We’ve written about both multiple times in the past.

For these Games, I’ve been looking for more of the good.

I liked the symbolism of seeing North Korean and South Korean athletes march into the stadium together for the opening ceremonies. And I enjoyed watching a story about North Koreans and South Koreans playing on the same women’s hockey team at the Olympics. Two cool stories that probably won’t do much to change the current political situation involving the two countries but cool nonetheless.

When one just sits down to watch the actual competitions, a lot more good than bad can be found. I like watching athletes who have trained for years, giving their ultimate effort, whether that’s to win a medal or simply to finish their event.

One of my favorite stories this year was about the Russian luger who offered his sled to American Chris Mazdzer before the Olympics started. The Russian knew Mazdzer was in a slump and wanted to help him. Mazdzer graciously declined the offer and ended up winning a silver medal on his own sled. But he was deeply moved. (Mazdzer declined to name the Russian luger who demonstrated such amazing sportsmanship.)

“It’s such a unique bond on the luge circuit. I don’t know how to relate it,” said Mazdzer.

“But we all look out for each other. We all want the best for each other. … I think that what it shows is that we care about each other. There is a human connection that we have, that crosses countries, that crosses cultures, and sport is an amazing way to accomplish that.”

Now that’s good stuff. At times, the Olympics actually can represent the highest and best of sports and humanity.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans

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