I love the summer Olympics. There is nothing better than, with all of our differences, coming together to cheer for our team. There is only one team: Team USA. Everyone is cheering them on, and the heartache and glory is palpable even from halfway across the world. For the next couple of weeks people from all over will be cheering in their living rooms for America’s team.
There will always be those, sadly, who choose to find something wrong with the Olympics. Most of the flak is aimed at the sponsors like McDonalds and Coke. There are those of us who make the arguments that sponsors like McDonalds and Coke should not be sponsors of arguably, the most athletic competition in the world. These naysayers will say that these kinds of sponsors make it okay for people to eat food that is bad for them or put bad things in their bodies. They say that these kinds of sponsors, do not “accurately represent” the fit and athletics state of the finely tuned machines that are our athletes. These people are short-sighted and miss the point of what a “sponsor” of the Olympics means.
Who is to say what’s unhealthy? We know it’s not fat. Some will tell you that to be healthy you should be eating a lot more red meat. This article is not about that. Also, do these people know what kinds of food some of the athletes eat? Consider the swimmers who spend a lot of time in a pool that is cooler than their own body temperatures. These athletes need to eat more than the average, athletic person, or they will lose too much weight. Michael Phelps eats over 12,000 calories a day, and it’s not because he burns that much, it’s because of the temperature of the water. Do you think he can get to twelve thousand calories a day eating salads? That’s a lot of lettuce.
However, the real reason these people are wrong is because they fail to realize that being a sponsor of the Olympics isn’t about whether food is healthy. It’s about supporting our country. These companies don’t sponsor the Olympics solely for marketing. They sponsor because they, like us want to cheer the home team. They want to share in the glory of the Olympic win. They want to show support for their country and the athletes that have given their lives and bodies to be the perfect competitors. It’s not for the sponsor but for the athletes. These sponsors are passionate about our athletes and support everything they do. They are proud to support the United States. Dow Chemical is an Olympic sponsor too, and that’s bad for you if you eat it.
The true nature of the Olympics is that for those couple of weeks it’s not about Me it’s about Us. As a country, coming together to support those who would compete against the world. Those proud enough to play for a country that offers freedom and encouragement not just for us, but for the world. The rest of the world doesn’t tune in just to watch their team, they tune it to watch the United States, other countries, and our sponsors know that watching team USA is a beacon of hope for what true freedom can do to a country – it creates hope and courage, as personified perfectly in our athletes.
“Better to pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”
~ James Joyce