Americans might have been distracted by the misbehavior of some Olympic swimmers, but the truth is that despite fears about the Zika virus, the impeachment of Brazil’s president and nervous concerns about security, the summer Olympics were a success.
A developing country took on the crushing task of hosting the world and did it well. From the chanting local crowds to the festival mood day and night, Rio did it with brio.
Yes, the USA did well in medals, but the Olympics always have a way of reminding citizens of all countries that they share pride in their athletes, a respect for sportsmanship and an appreciation of talent forged by hard work.
For citizens of the United States, these Olympics were a chance to divert their attention from a mean-spirited presidential campaign and focus instead on the joy of athletic competition. Despite the fact that athletes in the games are fierce competitors, they manage in most cases to demonstrate an interest in other countries and in their fellow competitors, win or lose.
The strange behavior of some American swimmers will not linger in the public mind for long. Rather, the color and joy of these games – the way in which young people who have dedicated virtually their entire lives to their sport manage to enjoy themselves in these moments and overcome defeat – are good for all.
This was the Rio Reminder, that for all of our differences in culture and politics, people, just people, have more in common than they have differences.