July 23, 2012

How Does the Rest of the World View Team USA?

By - Kyle Malinowski

What do people around the world think of when they see an Olympian from Team USA? Do they see American politics and how they view our country and government through our athletes, or are the Americans basically the equivalent of rock stars?

Photo by: Getty Images
In recent years, we have had figures such as Apolo Anton Ohno, Michael Phelps, and LeBron James -- who have taken athletic prowess to an unprecedented level. America may be one of the fattest countries in the world, but somehow, we still manage to produce the world's greatest athletes.

As an American myself, I always ponder if the Olympics are actually fair? I mean, proportionally, we should by far have the best athletes because of how large our country is and also how much money we can put into training at early ages. So does the world see Team USA as superstars or villains? Can the Olympics be the time where politics and hatred go out the window for a short time?

I am proud to be an American, getting to watch my fellow countrymen dominate in their respective sports, but I also must acknowledge that it almost feels like if we lose -- it's terrible.

But for the stories like Usain Bolt, it's a marvel for the country of Jamaica. Let's face it, Bolt will be a legend to his countrymen until the end of time. However, in the USA, Michael Phelps must dominate to such a degree that he forces himself into our national consciousness.

Therefore, I believe you could argue that we really don't appreciate our athletes in this country as much as other countries do. I believe this could possibly stem from the melting pot America has become, in that it's very hard for every American to find someone to bond over.

Usain Bolt is just like his fellow countrymen. Do black Americans get behind Michael Phelps the same way white Americans do? To truly support an athlete, don't you usually have to identify with that athlete?

Whereas the Olympics for other countries may be the chance to have that particular country recognized around the world, Americans see the games as more of an obligation, and not an opportunity.

If we want to have a better image around the world, let's use the Olympic Games to show that America is still a country to be proud of and that we don't fit our stereotype of arrogant and cocky.

Stay classy, America!

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