The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games (or do they still call it the 2020 Olympics?) are now over. The games culminated with the closing ceremonies, which took place at 7:00 a.m. EDT on
Sunday morning. In other words, practically all of America slept while the torch was being extinguished in Japan.
That’s okay. I didn’t even realize it. Part of the reason is because I didn’t watch the competitions -- at all (I did see a token few highlights). I didn’t see the theoretically unbeatable U.S. Men’s basketball team lose their first game on the way to recovering and taking home the gold. I didn’t watch our country’s Olympic swimmers earn their usual high percentage of medals. I didn’t watch (or really care) as women’s gymnastics phenom Simone Biles opted out of several competitions due to mental issues (translation: fear) but then return to win an individual bronze, which she described as “I did it for me.”
I didn’t watch the Chinese diving team, including a 14-year-old, dominate their sport. One can only imagine what it’s like training in that communist system. One screw-up and you’re locked up!
And I sure as heck didn’t watch the U.S. Women’s Soccer team stumble and bumble their way to a bronze medal after being overwhelming favorites to defend their 2016 Gold and 2019 World Cup title. While many a pampered athlete has become synonymous with flag and country hating in the twenty-first century, there’s no group quite like the female ball kickers in this regard. Be it making overt political statements, kneeling during the national anthem or donning purple hair, this collection of extremely talented but culturally “woke” players turned me off long ago.
I even found myself rooting against them (go Canada!), something that would’ve been unthinkable during my youth, when I watched American heroes like skiing’s Bill Johnson thumb his nose at the snobby Europeans to win Sarajevo’s downhill race (1984), or Eric Heiden conquering the speedskating ice to prevail at every distance in 1980 Lake Placid. Or how about those 1980 hockey players? “Miracle” doesn’t even begin to describe what that team accomplished.
There were summer stars as well. How about golden boy Bruce Jenner earning the title of world’s greatest male athlete in the 1976 Montreal Olympic decathlon? (We won’t talk about what happened in the past decade, will we?) Or Carl Lewis sprinting to four golds in Los Angeles in 1984? Or gymnast Kerri Strug braving a broken ankle to help her team win gold in Atlanta in 1996? Or sprinter Michael Johnson setting records at two distances in that same year (how about those gold shoes?)?
Re-watching footage from those events revived old emotions and was notable for one thing in particular -- their pride in the American flag and our country. The individuals competed for themselves, their families, their teams and their nation. My, what a difference between then and now. Almost sad, but a sign of the times in Joe Biden’s world.
Former President Donald Trump took interest in the women’s soccer team’s remarkable flameout and couldn’t help but add his impressions to the mix. Celine Castronuovo reported at The Hill:
“Former President Trump [last week] criticized an old target — the U.S. women’s national soccer team — by saying players would have won the gold medal and not the bronze at the Olympics if they weren’t ‘woke.’
“’Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has,’ Trump said in a statement issued by his Save America PAC. ‘If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze,’ he argued…
“Trump … [criticized] players for kneeling during the anthem and saying that while there were ‘a few Patriots standing,’ they ‘need more than that respecting our Country and National Anthem. They should replace the wokesters with Patriots and start winning again,’ he added.”
I bet most people nodded their heads in agreement to the president’s quote. In a day and age where expressing such unabashed patriotism could spark violence and reputational retribution from the politically correct thought police, it’s refreshing to know there’s someone who will speak up. If only the political establishment had nipped the athletes’ disrespect in the bud a long time ago, we’d be in a better position today.
One senses Trump’s statement was a tad tongue-in-cheek as he no doubt delighted in furthering the ongoing feud with certain members of the U.S. women’s team, especially the always ticked off purple-haired team leader Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe is obnoxious to say the least and didn’t shy away from cursing and rude statements directed at Trump while he was president. No need to rehash them here, but let’s just say Megan won’t have a prominent display dedicated to her class and political acumen in a future Trump presidential library.
As far as “woke-ism” goes, it doesn’t appear to have a direct correlation to performance quality, since practically all of the NBA is “woke” now and players seem to be just as skilled at putting a ball through a hoop as they ever were. The NFL’s gone straight downhill in recent years too, yet the action on the field looks about the same.
It’s not to say there was a total lack of patriotism displays at the Tokyo games. One of the best interviews I’ve heard in years came from female American wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock, who didn’t moderate her enthusiasm for the country that she was proud to represent. As the daughter of an immigrant from Ghana, Mensah-Stock was gushing with praise for the U.S.A. During her post-gold remarks, she wore a red white and blue star spangled banner. Maybe she should autograph one for Rapinoe and the other women’s soccer players…? Click the link to see the interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_s2IbQ1Arg (Tamyra Mensah-Stock interview)
But of course there’s no one more knowledgeable about race relations than a white, purpled-haired liberal lesbian radical like Megan Rapinoe, right? In contrast, what would the true African-American daughter of a naturalized citizen understand about the black experience? Colin Kaepernick could add his two cents about how awful the police are in the United States. One wonders whether Nike or any other “woke” sports equipment manufacturer will feature Tamyra Mensah-Stock in a commercial? Will Disney get her to say “I’m going to Disney World” in one of those spots? (see below)
Or was she too over-the-top giddy about being an American?
(Note: In fairness, hurdler Sidney McLaughlin uttered similar pro-USA statements after she won gold. I’m guessing there are a good many others, too, just not enough to signal a reverse-trend.)
Which begs the question: why isn’t someone like Mensah-Stock the norm rather than the exception these days? As highlighted above, it didn’t used to be this way. Representing your country was considered an honor, something that transcended skin color or religion or sexual orientation (remember Greg Louganis?) to bring us together. These days, athletes, corporations and political parties would rather carve out their own separatist niche than sweat and bleed for the red, white and blue.
It’s sad to say, but the more “woke” you are, the more the big monied interests will consider you for an endorsement deal. If you’re willing to make statements praising China or the regime in Cuba, the more power to you. There’s nothing quite like sucking up to the communists to get you noticed and flattered by the establishment media. A guest spot on “The View” might even be waiting!
In addition to the Olympics closing, there was news from Walt Disney World in Orlando last week that the automated figure of President Joe Biden was added to the amusement park’s famous “Hall of the Presidents” attraction. According to reports, Trump’s figure was moved to the back of the group in order to make room for Biden’s programmed dummy at center stage, where the machine apparently recites Joe’s oath of office.
I can’t help but think if the Disney people were to make robot Joe true to life and realistic, they’d have to do his dialogue in Biden-speak, something like, “I, that guy from Scranton who once hung out with Corn Pop and drove a semi-truck, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the bylaws of the Democrat Party, and to the republic for which it stands, will do all that stuff my advisors tell me to do. So help me Dr. Jill!”
How many will go to see android Joe with the other presidents?
It's safe to say not many people were upset to see the Olympics end in Tokyo. With patriotic tributes in sports the exception rather than the rule in 2021, it’s more worthwhile to watch a taped Donald Trump rally if you’re searching for authentic pride in our nation. Americans should demand more from our U.S. athletes. Will we ever see it again?
Tamyra Mensah-Stock Sidney McLaughlin
U.S. Womens Soccer Team
U.S. Olympic team
Joe Biden Disney World