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Celebrating the Olympic Dream

By John G. Puskarich

SPORTS COLUMNIST

I don’t know if any of you noticed, but the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games have come and gone. In a world-class spectacle that occurs just once every four years that unites the top athletes from all over the globe, MIT students and America, for that matter, just didn’t seem to give a damn.

Though I am disappointed with NBC’s delayed coverage, coupled with the fact that I barely got to see any of the track events, the Olympics are the Olympics. If you miss out on them, it’s not like you can see them in a couple of weeks or months. They’ll come around again four years from now, which means we’ll be four years older with four more years of new and totally different responsibilities.

The drive to succeed is what the Olympics are all about. The drive to succeed is why we are here at the world’s finest technical institution. Is it not natural for us to have a strong desire to see Olympic athletes compete on such a high level? I spoke to many MIT folks over the past few weeks and not a single one seemed to show any interest in the worlds greatest athletic competition. Seeing people give their heart and souls for a ten-second race or a one-minute bar routine is astonishing.

Things would be a lot different if people paid attention to sports like track and gymnastics all the time, but they don’t and it’s sad. How can people not watch other people’s dreams come true right on the television screen? Every person we saw on NBC’s Olympic coverage was living out a dream. It is a shame that only a small portion of America witnessed the unfolding of a lifetime’s work and dreams.

The Olympic games are big and boisterous, wonderful with exceptional athletes, flawed with over-commercialization. If at times the Olympic committee seems to exceed their grasp, then perhaps what applies is the Olympic ideal: there is merit in the attempt, and a whole lot accomplished along the way.

Every two years, for three weeks, the front page of the newspaper is filled with peoples triumphs and accomplishments; instead of a front page that contains nothing but mans failures.