Italy at the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are over and the journalists in Italy are starting to say how disappointed we are: at Athens we won 32 medals while this year in Beijing we have won “only” 28 medals... getting the 9th place.

I’d like to use this space to say I don’t agree! I’m not disappointed at all.

Italy is a strange country... If you come to Italy and turn on television or if you go to the Sports section of a newspaper during the year you will find only football. If you are looking for “other sports” (as the media call them), you must wait for the last news on Tv (usually with no images) or search (with a magnifying glass in your hand) through the last lines of the last page on the newspaper.

If you, as a foreigner, try to understand our country through the media you won’t see the real Italy.

Fortunately Italy is not only football, there are great athletes in many other sports. They work, alone, with great sacrifices and often without much support.

Then the Olympic Games come and the journalists ask our “other sports” to win. Just to win. But even the Italian athletes who are today celebrated because they’ve won a gold medal, in a few days will be forgotten by the media, together with their “minor” sport.

Pierre de Coubertin’s famous motto:

“L'important n'est pas de gagner, mais de participer.

The important thing is not to win, but to take part.”

has been completely forgotten.

I think we should be proud of our results. We are a very small country compared to China, the Usa, Russia, and so on. I believe our athletes did their best, and this is what counts, according to me.

We watch them now, and tomorrow we’ll go back to our activities, but their playing with their life, with hours of training every day, with no free time to spend with their families, with travels and competitions, etc.

The journalists should remember that many athletes, like the gymnasts or the canoeists just to give a couple of examples, work every day for four years preparing for a competition which can last only few minutes. Their hard work will get to the result (or not) in such a short time... And sometimes the final decision will be in the hands of the judges, who, being human, can make mistakes.

How can I be disappointed if the K4 gets fourth or if the fantastic girls of the Rhythmic Gymnastic get fourth (again) after a perfect exhibition (I think Italy got the record of fourth places in these Olympic Games... )? They will be disappointed, angry, sad. I can just partecipate their sadness, but I won’t be less proud of their attempt and efforts. I don’t need a medal to thank them, to appreciate their work.

I hate when the media destroy a team because they didn’t win today, when yesterday they celebrated them because they had won... I think we should be proud of our athletes if they do their best, accepting that sometimes others are better.

So, I want to use this space to thank all the Italian athletes who took part in these Olympic Games, the ones who won and the ones who lost.

Thank you all!

Photo credits: Tanja Rosso, Grosremy, Justforever, Julia Taranova, Valeria Cantone.

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August 27, 2008

Valeria73

Thank you all for your great comments!!!
I'm happy to see you understood what I meant.

As Photoabraham said it's already soccer time and all the other sports have been suddely forgotten... :((

Thank you 70sphotography for your deep thoughts. I was very touched by Matt Emmons's wife reaction too. And I hope Liu Xiang will get better soon, in order to get all he deserves.

I hope it's exactly as Sportlibrary said. I hope the athletes won't suffer for the media indifference. But the sponsors won't help them, I'm afraid...

@Luckyj: I read about the episode on the newspaper... What can I say? It's Italy, we can't do anything about it, particularly in this period... :((((

@Rob: you're completely right, but our economic difficulties don't affect football at all... I agree with you, it's not about football, but the culture of football. Even if I'm afraid that this isn't a sport anymore... too much money and business to be "healthy".

Thanks also to Rebecca, Leda e Amaranta for their comments! :)))

August 25, 2008

Sportlibrary

Hi Valeria.. thank you for the comments. This is the 1st Olympics in a long time I've spent in the country...normally I'm at the Games. When you're at the Games..you miss all the crap placed on the athletes by the media "left behind". Don't worry... the athletes know where they're placed in the world and just how well they did.. in their eyes, they didn't lose.

cheers for now. JC

August 25, 2008

Photoabraham

i completely agree with Valeria. I can't say what i think of italian journalists! 2 days after the end of the Olimpic Games our athletes are already forgotten. journalists will remember of them among 4 years!!! It's already soccer time!

August 25, 2008

70sphotography

I absolutely agree with you as well as Coubertin’s words, The important thing is not to win, but to take part.”

To be honest, I don't care much which country is leading on the medal board, it's the business of the diplomats and the politicians, what I count for is the hardwork the athlets devoted for their career and the improvement they shoud be boasted of.

Some scenes impressed me greatly:
1. Liu Xiang's exits, his pain, which really laments the whole country,
2. Matt Emmons failed in the last shot, I was greatly moved while his wife held his arms tightly. I completely understood there is other things more important than medals in Olympic games.
3. The great mother, Chusovitina. No matter the gold plate on which one's hand. She's always the best mother.
...

August 25, 2008

Luckyj

I don't like italian journalists, so full of themeselves thinking they have all the right answers...they were disappointed at the results, but didn't mention the fact hat our "major" sport (soccer) made a really bad olympic game but players are still overpaid and went home in business class flight, while other sports athletes which won medals went home in turistic class. Most of our athletes must face sacrifices with no gratification whatsoever.I don't know if it will ever be possible to better this situation, but countries like russia and china are of great example of how much sport is taken into consideration by the government, which gives the proper amount of money to all sports...
sad sad sad.....

August 25, 2008

Rebeccaosborn

Some great shots there of the games, congrats to all the photographers featured above!

August 25, 2008

Leda_d

I'm completely agree with Rob and Valeria for the football!
Vale, Really congrats for the nice blog and for all your photos!

August 25, 2008

Amaranta

Hi! Yes, I'm agree with you!!!!!!!!! ;) Italy is not only football!
Great post! Congrats! Thanks to have used also my shots :)

August 25, 2008

Valeria73

@ Rob: now it's my turn to agree with you! ;-)
@ Arcadia: I didn't go to Beijing... Did I give this impression???
The pictures, taken before the Olympics, just represent Italian athletes who went there! Ciao! :)

August 25, 2008

Arcadia_dreamstime

Really Great Work :D
did you go in beijing ???!!!

August 24, 2008

Roberto1977

I'm completely agree with you, Valeria!
I like football, but I don't like the italian "culture" of football. Congratulations to all the italian athletes! We have won "only" 28 medals 'cause we are a small country with serious economic difficulties, and this also has repercussions on the economic opportunities of sports federations. I think 28 medals for us are a great goal, not a disappointing performance.
Bye, Rob.

August 24, 2008

Valeria73

Hi Linqong! Thanks for your comment.

These pictures (which are not all mine: the best ones belong to other photographers!!!) were taken before the Olympic Games. ;-)

I chose them because they portray some of the Italian athletes who took part in the Olympics in Beijing. :)

Have you taken any pictures of the competitions during the Games????

August 24, 2008

Linqong

Good! Great Shot!

I am Chinese,I live in Beijing.
I wish you have a good time
in Beijing.

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