I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
- Ecclesiastes 9:11
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
- Jeremiah 12:5
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24
The USA will probably finish (since this was written with maybe two days left of competition) in the top five in medal count and number of gold medals. They never seem to dominate in the Winter Olympics. Norway, Finland, Sweden and ROC (Russia) dominate in the Nordic events. Germany is still a bobsled powerhouse. The countries of the Alps tend to do well in the Alpine events. So, the USA did okay, great on the women’s side of things. But I have written that I do not feel competition will be in Heaven. Paul’s words to the Corinthians are still appropriate while still here on earth. Run the race and keep it clean. Run to get the prize (and we are not talking about a false competition where everyone gets participation trophies).
I am going to list a bunch of bullet points, but one is rather complicated. So I will get to the bullets later.
Eileen Gu is the daughter of a Chinese Immigrant to the US, a single parent (with the daughter fathered by an American). It seems they have travelled across the Pacific a few times and Eileen has friends in China. Some in the USA have been very critical that she has competed in China, representing China, while she lives and was born in the US. The rules allow that, but usually people opt for the alternate country when they miss the Olympic team in their country, not when they are the best in the world at what they do.
I have been to China five times. My last trip to Tangshan, the third trip to China, was the least formal. Since I always went there to teach their operators, there was always a formal dining experience where their managers (and CCP representatives) treated us to the local cuisine. But on that trip, the class decided to treat us to Chinese bar-be-que without inviting the bosses – totally informal, totally enjoyable, totally a feeling of warmth and family. Chinese bar-be-que is where they bring the skewers of meat and slice it from the skewer (rotisserie rod) directly onto your plate. You stayed until you were full or until the laughter and jokes died down. I have no idea whether I had dog, but some of the meat was definitely duck, chicken, beef, and pork. Others were unrecognizable. Who knows? And while at formal dining with the bosses means hard liquor and trying to see the American get drunk (and I always stayed sober), that night no one had an alcoholic beverage. Obviously, true Chinese hospitality does not require alcohol. It was family fun. When away from the formal political structure, the people are wonderful people. But there are always eyes watching you.
So, I can understand how Eileen Gu could feel that way and wish to inspire Chinese people into following in her footsteps. But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will use her as a poster child, although she has never seen the cruelty done to people who disagree with the CCP line of thinking. The politicians, elected in the USA, who propose the abolition of our constitution in favor of a government like the CCP, will also use Eileen Gu as a poster child. She may never awaken to the fact that she will be a puppet on display because I think that she made her decision honestly and innocently (but maybe not).
Now for the bullets:
- Artificial Snow?! I know it reduces where the Olympics can be held drastically and with Climate Change that might shrink even more, but with an icy surface and absolutely no powder, that skiers had trouble adjusting their skis to and was a slippery surface when making turns or a hard surface when landing (especially freestyle). The Nordic events ran slow, thus people with endurance outlasted people with a late lap “kick,” all due to the type of snow, and at first, the countries that made the correct adjustments to the skis had an advantage. Using artificial snow reduces where the athletes can train and those that did not train on artificial snow were at a disadvantage.
- The Russian Skater – Did she fall several times in her last performance because the tremendous pressure over the illegal drug scandal was too much for her or was she told to “take a dive?” As it turned out, their plans to not have a medal ceremony until the courts decided was all for naught.
- And while on that topic and so many parallels, the Japanese skater that got the bronze had wept thinking that she had done the best performance of her life, only to finish fourth. Talk about running to get the prize. Then she wept again when the unthinkable happened and the young teenaged Russian fell so many times that I lost count. We focus on gold, but that bronze came at such a high cost that it did not matter what color in the end. That could be said of nearly every bronze medalist.
- And back to the Russian skater, she was accused of failing a drug test. Russia was not allowed to compete under their flag due to rampant drug use. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was invented so that the athletes could compete anyway, not holding them back. Should we be surprised that the people handling the athletes continue to dope them up? Fair playing field? Doubt if it ever really happens. So great when someone who does it right gets the prize. And I feel sad for that Russian teenager who did as she was told.
- With a wife that immigrated to the USA from the Netherlands, I root for the Orange (the Netherlands, Holland, the Dutch) whenever there is not an American in the race, especially in speed skating. One of the Netherlands skaters was a contender for gold. He was ahead of his competitor, but he saw that he was not enough ahead to switch lanes safely. He held up, breaking his stride, to let the competitor continue to skate, but he had lost some time and too much speed and finished the race out of medal contention while the skater who received the gift of fair play got the silver medal. In my book, the polite Dutch skater got something better than a gold medal. Fair play still exists.
- For so many, it was an honor just representing their country. They may not have been in the top 100 in their race, but they strapped on their skates or skis or pushed their sled just like the winner had done.
- And while not part of the Olympics, the Super Bowl was during the same time. I felt so uncomfortable during the pre-game “festivities” that I had to mute the television and walk out of the room. It was so filled with “religion” glorifying the NFL and the Super Bowl that I nearly threw up, especially the performance by “the Rock.” Then again, he was acting a part.
As the Apostle Paul wrote, we all are running our race. Let us do so within the rules and do so to gain the prize.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
The Olympics seems a long time ago after the war in Ukraine
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Yes, all it takes is something of that nature to rearrange all our thoughts and priorities.
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