Bravo, Team Vietnam
Updated : 08/14/2012 06:02 GMT + 7
Sunday saw London bid farewell to the Olympic Games, and the US clawed back to top of the world with 46 gold medals. And in Vietnam, words like “failures,” “disappointment,” and “empty-handed,” began to be headlined in regard to Team Vietnam at the London 2012, where the country’s 18 athletes failed to touch any medals.
It was not until the world’s largest sporting event concluded that such headlines and news coverage is published in Vietnam media, which I, as an expat living here, keep following on a daily basis hoping to read some good news about the team of my adopted country.
Of course there was not a single piece of what I had expected to read, but instead there was a series of articles seemingly criticizing their failed attempts for Olympic medals. Sadly, they are from TuoiTreNews, my daily source of news during my time here in Vietnam.
Whenever an athlete completed his or her competition with, well, failure all the time, there would be an article published saying that an Olympic hopeful had performed below par, recounting how many Vietnamese athletes had so far gone home, and reiterating that the team still remained empty-handed.
It seems to me that all the country expects from their Olympic athletes is success, victory, and medals, while loss, failure, and empty-handedness are unacceptable.
However, the athletes do not deserve such criticism, and winning or losing, and the medals, are not the spirit of the Olympics.
Vietnam had 18 athletes qualify for London 2012, the largest number ever, and the country should be proud of this achievement, rather than sticking to the belief that the more athletes, the larger the medal chances.
I have read through some articles published in the Olympics section on TuoiTreNews, and found someone sharing my thoughts about the case.
As a reader named Martin wrote under the article titled “Vietnam Olympic delegation back home empty-handed,” TuoiTreNews seems to have a misconception of the Olympic idea.
He wrote: “Maybe some of the athletes come home with "empty hands," but their hearts will be full of wonderful memories for the rest of their life, and their nations should be proud of them.”
He also reiterated the Olympic Charter (1994) about the Olympian philosophy and the goal of the Olympic Movement, which are, after all, not about gold or silver medals.
Most of the Vietnamese athletes failed to make it through their very first round of competition, and were dubbed as failing to meet expectations, while they did try their best to be at the world’s largest arena, and some even had to practice without coaching experts or with inadequate training equipment.
The latest coverage related to Team Vietnam on Monday said some of them have earned better results than the best they could do prior to the Games, and this is also success.
Another reader, who posted a comment under the name of Ian Lister in the “Vietnam jumper fails in qualifier after poor result” article, also shared the idea that Vietnam should be proud of its sporting team as the Olympic spirit is to compete, not necessarily to win, and sent a message to Team Vietnam: "Well done VN athletes - you all tried your best on the day and your country is proud of you.”
To me, the message should be “Bravo Team Vietnam, you did a good job. Your performance even impressed an expat like me.”