Do we show nationalist tendencies during the Olympics?
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Me most of the time: Nationalism is dangerous and the US is flawed.— Ashley Croce (@ashcroach) August 14, 2016
Me during the Olympics:USA! USA! USA! TAKE THAT REST OF WORLD! USA! USA!
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— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) August 15, 2016We of course aren't inherently inclined to support our own, as some athletes receive worldwide support in their sportsmanship, charisma and talent. Sprinter Usain Bolt is Jamaican yet people from all over the world fervently cheer him on. Gymnast Simon Biles is American but she has taken the world by storm, capturing the hearts of many nations who are simply mesmerised by her incomparable talent. Swimmer Michael Phelps, also from the US, has blown away spectators time and time again by his exceptional ability to almost always come away with Gold.
In ancient Greece, where the Olympics originated in 776 B.C., competitors performed as individuals, even though their home cities were recognised. Whereas in modern times, the home nation is the most important aspect in the identity of the athlete. In this way the games inevitably become political. Athletes are praised as products of their nation’s ability to train and nurture those with potential. One athlete’s victory is a victory of their home country. During the Cold War, Soviet states dedicated a huge amount of resources to producing and training their athletes, believing that those who win would openly support the Soviet ideology. Now in 2016, Britain undeniably invests huge amounts of money in their athletes, and although it probably isn't being used as a measure of power over other nations, we certainly revel in Britain's reputation as one of the best nations in the world in the Olympics. The patriotism that flares up during the Olympics highlights that despite claims of an ever more globalised world, nations are still very much individual, distinct places, and more patriotic than ever. Is there a difference between nationalism and patriotism? It’s difficult to know why people are born with a desire to feel pride in their country, yet the Olympics demonstrates that we are instinctively territorial, tribal and patriotic to the point that we meet the definition of nationalism. Nevertheless, the sheer elation we feel in the successes of the likes of Bolt, Biles and Phelps, just highlights that we can continue to be patriotic for our country and feel pride in our athletes, while recognising the success of others in the true Olympic spirit which recognises the talents of athletes worldwide.
When watching the #Olympics, it's less about Nationalism for me and more about recognizing the exceptional wherever it may come from— Harry Knowles (@headgeek666) August 16, 2016