Setting the world of politics aside for a day, I want to give kudos to a true athletic genius, Michael Phelps. Yesterday in Beijing Phelps won his eleventh Gold Medal placing him above Olympic icons Carl Lewis and Mark Spitz as the athlete who has won the most Gold Medals in Olympic history. He is also well on his way to winning eight Gold Medals during the Games, surpassing the record held by America’s Mark Spitz at seven.
Not only does Phelps win but he does so in dominating fashion. In each of the five events that he has competed in to this point he has not only won individually or in relay competition, but has shattered the World Record while leaving the rest of the athletes in the pool literally in his wake.
Many had suggested before this Olympics started that The United States should boycott the Games because of the Human Rights violations of the Chinese. This is a country that still has Communism as its form of government and has one of the if not the worst Human Rights records in history.It has been reported that officials rounded up hundreds of thousands of possible dissidents to prevent them from telling the World of the real China rather than the show China that is being portrayed for the Games.
While I deplore the Chinese Communism and their treatment of the Chinese people, ( even their athletes are jerked from their homes at a young age and become government property), I am reminded of two things concerning the Olympics.
First during the days of the Cold War the nemesis in every Olympics for The United States was the Warsaw block and especially the USSR and East Germany. The intense competition was always heated because it became an, “us,” against,” them,” situation in every Olympics.
Without exception The United States shined as our athletes who freely chose to compete and freely disciplined themselves to become the best competed against athletes from the Eastern Block who were wards of the State and under Communist rule competed at the control and punishment or reward of their government.
Our free athletes not only won but showed the world what a free man or women could do when given the opportunity to freely express their physical abilities. The second example that has come to mind is the 1936 Olympics.
Adolph Hitler was just beginning his conquest of Europe and was using the Games as a propaganda tool to showcase German superiority, especially against the black race in whom Hitler despised. The United States shined that year in our athletic abilities of free men and women and also in being the ONLY country who refused to dip our flag before the Chancellor, (Hitler), as was expected by every country participating.
A fabulous athlete, who also happened to be black ran away with the track and filed competition even sparking Hitler to leave the stadium during one days competition because of his anger over the failure of what he thought would be a propaganda coup. That athletes name was Jessie Owens.
Michael Phelps and the rest of team USA are once again demonstrating to the world not only their brilliant athletic abilities but also that when men and women are freely given the choice as to what direction they wish to pursue with their lives and not dictated to by the State, then free men and women will always shine as they follow their hearts and their free minds to pursue excellence. Congratulations Michael Phelps and Team USA
Ken Taylor (http://theliberalslies.blogspot.com )