Thursday, August 14, 2008

When you are old, after the gold...

“I have just been drilling holes on black paper all these years”, said Abhinav Bindra, in reply to one of the questions from the media, after winning his gold medal.

Well he drilled those holes in an air-conditioned rifle range that his indulgent dad had lovingly built for him.

If this is what it takes to win the Olympics, no wonder that we have had a dismal track record so far. Starting from the age of eight or even earlier, kids aspiring to be Olympic champions must focus relentlessly on an activity that will hopefully fetch them a medal, but will be completely useless for anything else in life. While the moment of glory, if and when it comes, will be something to cherish, what do you do next? And, for every Bindra that manages to win a medal, there will be 999 non-Bindras who don’t, despite spending much of their youth in this one-dimensional pursuit, ignoring their studies or their job career. What do they do with their lives, if they don’t have rich dads to fall back on?

Fat lot of good it would do to have participated in the high jump event at the Olympics, after practising for 12 years, bunking school and college, and pumping yourself with steroids. When you come back, what do you do with that skill? How do you earn a living? Jumping over walls may be an interesting pastime, and may impress a few passers-by, but you don’t get paid much for it.

That’s why Indian kids prefer to write code than to gamble away their youth shooting holes or splashing around in the water, aiming for the Olympic medal.

What about all those Chinese and American athletes who train for 10 years or more in their quest for an Olympic medal? What do they do after that? Well, everybody knows that the Chinese Govt takes care of their athletes for life. And, as for the Americans, I strongly suspect that they make a living by selling steroids to the new generation of Olympic hopefuls. And, the cycle goes on.

And, the reason I didn’t win an Olympic medal myself was because my dad refused to build an air-conditioned badminton court in our house.

6 comments:

Usha said...

If only your dad knew that he was denying his country its moment of pride - sigh...
Seriously, I completely agree with you. When the question is asked on why a nation of 1 billion doesn't produce many medalists, I have pretty much the same kind of thoughts. And it is such a gamble and what do you do when you don't make it to the winners' stand? Neither here nor there.

maduraiveeran said...

This is by far the straightest answer you can get for why India doesn't win gold in olympics. May be a new generation of rich kids can do it!

Hawkeye said...

fair enough argument. agree 100% as to why we don't do well in sports.

In india you can get into IIT, anna univ and top universities under sports quota.

in amrikka most top universities will welcome you with open arms if you went as far as national level on a sport.

Sundar Narayanan said...

if the ratio of medalists to non medalists is only 1:999 as you suggest....

:)

as for the athletes who win in US going back to selling steroids.. well, they become coaches, TV commentators, etc..

the system here in the US seems to be self sustaining. . . that is another difference..

maybe Abhinav will coach other hopefuls in the future on rifle shooting? Maybe some of those kids will be from remote villages who win Uri adi competitions?

one can only wonder...

Sometimes I don't, sometimes I do said...

Strayed into this, searching for Boston Tea Party, but will come directly next time!

Like what you write - the best part is that I agree AND disagree with you in equal measure... so will keep visiting!

Cheers,
Shantaram

ramesh said...

@hawkeye: In india you can't get into IIT, anna univ and top universities under sports quota.