Sunday, January 01, 2012

Olympics and Nationalism Revisited.

I have previously expressed my dislike of the nationalism associated with the Olympic games. This BBC article confirms my perception of how the games create national pride.

The study presented in the article also shows that the Olympic games are more important for national pride in developing countries, who probable are more insecure about themselves and their nation, than richer countries. For example 68 % of Kenyans state that the games affects their national pride "a lot", whereas only 19 % of germans state similarly, while 42 % state "not as at all".

It is beyond my understanding, why I should feel pride in Denmark, just because a Danish athlete wins a medal in some obscure sports, such as archery or synchronised swimming, and why such pride should benefit me, Denmark or the world.

Also the lack of national pride in Germany, as related at success at the Olympic games, can arguably be explained with a historical awareness of how the games can be used to boost destructive national pride.

The ridiculousness of the Olympic games affecting national pride is furthermore highlighted by the fact that hardly anyone outside a particular country will notice the achievements of that countries athletes, just as I, prior to reading the BBC article, had never heard of an Afghani athlete winning a gold medal.

Neither does, for example, a Kenyan athlete winning some long distance run create in me a more positive image of Kenya. On the contrary, if anything other than making me uninterested in long distance running, it reinforces a racist stereotype of Kenya as a nation inhabited by freakish people, a stereotype I do not consider to be true.

In short, its time to abandon the nationalism associated with the Olympics, and for the games to be seem as what they are, i.e. games.