Peace on Earth achieved with every Olympics


Sreeja Mudumby

The Sidekick executive editor-in-chief Sally Parampottil thinks everyone should watch the Olympics despite their interest in sports because the emotion elicited from the event transcends knowledge of the actual sport.

Sally Parampottil, Executive Editor-in-Chief

OK, well, not really. I know you saw that headline and scoffed. 

However, the Olympics – you know, that massive celebration of sports and international unity through athletic competition that happens every two years – truly is a time when everything just seems right. This feeling isn’t just limited to sports fans; I encourage all people to watch the Olympics to experience the feeling of genuine happiness. 

This year, the Olympics in Japan are set for July 23-Aug. 8. There is skepticism on whether it will still occur due to the pandemic, and while I believe in preventing a superspreader more than I would rather have the greatest sports event to grace humanity, now is still as good a time as any to appreciate the power that the Olympics hold. 

Do you remember Rio 2016? 

It’s hard to express the physical sensation, but I got chills when Michael Phelps announced he would return for one last Olympics after “retiring” following London 2012. The flood of Subway advertisements featuring Phelps leading up to Rio built up anticipation for his great return, and he did not disappoint, expanding his record as the most decorated Olympian of all time. If you’re not someone who really cares about the sports side of things, you at least remember Phelps Face. You at least remember the pride of being American when the United States won 46 gold medals and a total of 121 medals (the only three digit medal count of every country that competed). You at least remember ganging up on Ryan Lochte, criticizing the harsh economic inequality of the host city and marveling at Simon Biles dominating women’s gymnastics

If you don’t, where were you in 2016?

See, the Olympics is more than just watching sports. It’s becoming fashion experts and critiquing each country’s uniforms. It’s pulling out a hundred boxes of tissues while sniffling at moments like Derek Redmond’s 1992 400-meter sprint semifinal, in which he tore his hamstring mid-race and was helped to finish by his father. It’s screaming at the top of your lungs when a trash talker gets beat, like the United States’s come-from-behind win against France in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 2008. It’s thinking “that is an American hero” in cases like Kerri Strug, who vaulted with an injured ankle in 1996 to help the U.S. win gold. 

The full range of emotion is felt in the Olympics. There’s heartbreak, there’s inspiration, there’s victory, there’s aggression. There’s a world united against doping (for the most part), a world ready to celebrate those who worked so tirelessly to get to such an elite level. The majority of the world will never win an Olympic medal, compete in the Olympics or even see the Olympics in person, but the celebration after a new record is beaten or a new champion is named is just about universal. 

That emotion transcends a need for understanding the sport. I don’t get curling, but when the 2018 U.S. men’s team, nicknamed “Team Rejects” won gold, I felt the thrill. I only somewhat understand hockey, but every time I watch Miracle or see clips from the actual event in which the U.S men’s hockey team defeated the heavy favorite Soviet Union in the semifinals, I feel a surge of patriotism. Every single time. 

So, watch the Olympics. If it happens this year, in the safest way possible, watch it with your friends. Find the events you think are most interesting, grab as many snacks as you can eat – because you don’t need to keep a strict athletes’ diet, all those people are actually at the Olympics – and watch your heart out. 

Follow Sally (@SParampottil) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.