Opinion | Suni Lee’s gold medal tweet raises a key question: What do Olympians owe their country?

A shift from nationalism toward individualism might win us medals, but it will lose us something equally valuable: Selflessness.

8/5/2021 11:04:00 PM

Opinion | Michael Augsberger: Tokyo Olympics and Suni Lee's gold medal tweet ask us: Do Olympians owe their country? - NBCNewsTHINK

A shift from nationalism toward individualism might win us medals, but it will lose us something equally valuable: Selflessness.

I remember wondering, as I watched the 2012 London Olympics, if any American athletes noticed the historic significance of their medal ceremonies and what peaceful competition among nations truly signifies. In the War of 1812, the British burned our capital and, 40 miles north, bombarded Baltimore harbor. The rockets’ red glare lit up the night sky; the bombs burst over Fort McHenry.

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Almost exactly 200 years later, there our champions stood on British soil, not merely welcomed in the very capital of the former enemy, but also placed atop their podiums and serenaded with the music Francis Scott Key’s verses were set to. Did any of them realize how far we had come, how much we had to celebrate? Did they see themselves as carriers of that faraway history into the present? It’s easy, if we focus on ourselves instead of whom and what we represent, to let Key’s stirring imagery become just background noise for another medal ceremony.

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THINK This is one of the most absurd articles I’ve read in a long time by a seemingly educated person. Thanking others is precisely an act of selflessness. You’re confusing nationalism with patriotism, the former being the chauvinistic nonsense NBC loves to display through this event. THINK Opinion: Suni slander will not be tolerated delete 🙃

THINK This is a Global event as they are our National representatives. At a minimum, they should respect their Country and fellow Americans who cheer and lament along with them for National pride. ...or is it just F* y'all and pay her the $35K for her Gold as a business transaction THINK No they don't. What a ridiculous article and take. Suni can thank whoever she likes & writing an article based on omission is absurd.

THINK does it depend on who funds them through their training & qualifying? but the nation does receive some of the prestige... the medals table... etc bethanyshriever THINK The opinion piece misses the point that the individuals involved, shamed for thinking of themselves first, have only recently come into a position where they could do that instead of groveling and thanking everyone for the opportunity to be used as fetishes.

THINK Agenda: How to criticize athletes who humanize athletes as real people. Result THINK Considering that US Olympic athletes get no funding from the US government, I’d say nah. THINK They represent their country in competition, not be social justice warriors.

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