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Enjoying the Olympic Games with Olympic-size attitude
   2016-08-15 11:16:38    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Liang Tao

By Liang Tao

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games is in full swing in Brazil, a country famous for its passion for soccer and samba amongst other things. Without a doubt, global sports fans are enjoying the fantastic gala with unparalleled enthusiasm. For most Chinese sports fans watching the Games on the opposite side of the globe, sometimes with a 12-hour time difference, staying up late to watch the competitions play out is a must. You'll find these fans fervently cheering on their favourite team or individual whilst wearing their country's colors with pride. As one such fan, I believe we should have an Olympic-size attitude towards the Games rather than zealously displaying and sometimes defending our national pride.

Faster, Higher, Stronger is the Olympic motto, symbolizing the spirit of the Games. The Olympic spirit also embodies an earnest expectation from the hearts of sports fans who cheer on every competitor regardless of nationality. In the Olympic arena, representing the highest level in the world, no sportsman or woman hopes to fail; they all want to exceed their personal best and aim for gold, perhaps break a World or Olympic Record in the process. Sports fans, while no doubt concerned with the eventual results of each competition, they should also praise the efforts that our athletes have made.
Millions of Chinese citizens cherish their own Olympic memories, and experience the highs and lows of watching an athlete gain or lose a single gold medal. Whether this was China's first Olympic gold medal from sharpshooter Xu Haifeng in 1984 or the gold rush of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the pursuit of victory ignites fiery passion amongst Chinese fans.

But just as a coin has two sides, desire or even demand for victory can also be followed by depression or the misery of failure. When Li Ning earned himself the title, "Prince of Gymnastics" in China's debut on the Olympic stage, no one could have imagined that he would have to face so many verbal attacks after making a crucial mistake which robbed him and the country of the chance of a medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Meanwhile, star hurdler Liu Xiang broke the world record and became China's track hero, but how could he have known that his pulling out of the Beijing Olympics due to injury would irk his fellow compatriots so much. It's clear to see that when athletes are in good form, the passion and confidence of China's fans can give them endless power. However, when these same athletes are not at their best, the anger and blame of fans can be poisonous.

Facing up to failure is a test for athletes. However, the way in which someone deals with watching an athlete win or lose out on a gold medal can demonstrate the quality and level of sports fans too. In the Rio Olympic arena, we see a healthier and more lenient attitude towards sportspeople, fully in line with the Olympic spirit. China did not win any gold medals on the first day. But instead of criticizing those sportsmen and women who failed to finish top of the podium, the majority of fans spoke well of their efforts. Eight years ago, China proved its power as a global sporting powerhouse. Now, we need to showcase to the whole world that Chinese sports fans have an Olympic-size attitude worthy of its sporting status.

Reacting accordingly when an athlete misses out on gold is a symbol of psychological maturity of an individual, and also a challenge for a country to face up to, in the process of development. Once an athlete has tried his or her best in a competition, no matter the result, it is unnecessary for us to feel regret if that result is less than golden. Win, lose, fail, it should not matter; this should be the be-all and end-all of the Games.

Defending champion Sun Yang received many words of comfort and understanding for his tears after winning the silver medal instead of the much-coveted gold in the men's 400-meter freestyle. We accept silver with inner peace after we saw Sun's huge endeavor. We are willing to extend our sincere congratulations to winner Mack Horton, but we cannot tolerate groundless accusations. We are not hostile to any foreign athlete, but it does not mean that we need to accept unfair treatment and blame. We have an open and inclusive mind; meanwhile, we know how to defend our achievements with dignity.

Swimmer Fu Yuanhui won fans' hearts with her forthright remarks when she was interviewed after she broke her own personal best in a preliminary heat of the women's 100 meter backstroke to reach the final. "I'm quite satisfied with myself. I've exhausted all my strength," she told the interviewer.

The majority of sports fans appreciate her genuine nature and honesty and shared in her obvious delight of setting a new personal best. Compared to the spectacular gala, real personal stories are something that are quite unforgettable. Sharing in an athlete's struggle, especially in times of excitement, is vital for the audience and fans.

Therefore, we applaud the achievements of all our sportsmen and women as long as they try their best, leaving behind the importance of the medals and the political meaning of national pride. So enjoy these marvelous Games with an Olympic-size attitude.

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