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Olympic spirit matters   2012-08-02 11:11:00

To win, or not to win, that should never be the question at the Olympic Games. Honor and dishonor medals do not determine, for that is not the spirit of sports.

True, Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of modern Olympics, made "Faster, Higher, Stronger" the motto of the Games. But lest we forget, his other motto is: "The most important thing is not to win but to take part!"

Chinese female weightlifter Zhou Jun failed to hoist 95 kg in three snatch attempts in the 53 kg category at the London Games on Sunday, drawing local media criticism. And though a paper based in Yunnan province published an apology on its front page for calling Zhou's loss a dishonor, the incident shows how wrong some Chinese are about the spirit of the Games.

This wrong notion afflicts athletes too. Another Chinese weightlifter, Wu Jingbiao, broke down after failing to win gold and told a reporter that he apologizes to the motherland, the weightlifting team and everyone who backed him to win.

This shows that even some athletes, especially gold medal hopefuls, are obsessed with winning, and are under heavy pressure from their teams, coaches and spectators.

As Chinese, we should feel happy and excited when Chinese athletes win medals, particularly gold medals. But there is no reason for us to look down upon the failures. Every athlete, Chinese or foreign, who has given his or her best deserves respect.

It's heartening to know that 78 percent of the 6,000 respondents to a Chinese Youth Daily survey, conducted a week before the London Games, said what they cared most about is whether Chinese athletes have tried their best and displayed fine sportsmanship.

Medals are meant only to stimulate athletes into striving for faster, higher, stronger goals. Athletes who overcome odds and physical injuries to complete their events even in the last place deserve as much honor and respect as the gold medal winners.

It is natural for even the best athletes to miss the medals they have trained for and, therefore, understandable for them to cry when they lose. Without the tears what worth would the smiles be?

One cannot learn anything from the Olympic Games unless one learns to appreciate success and failure both.


source : China Daily     editor:: Diana
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