I found this amusing piece of news today:
A Bollywood movie titled “Hari Puttar” is scheduled for release. Puttar, as in ‘Son’ in Punjabi, and Hari – the usual Hari. Guess what Warner Bros is suing about? It sounds like Harry Potter!
I sat back and watched with a supreme sense of satisfaction. It seems like just talking about the lack of medals for India was enough to get us not one, but three medals!
I know the perfect solution to more Olympic medals. We need to talk more – ha ha!
PS: CP means Cheap Publicity!
PS1: I am very sad that the Olympics is coming to an end. It seems like 2 weeks of a treat flew past. Two weeks where we marvelled the endurance and performance of athletes regardless of their origin. Two weeks of human beings at their competitive best.
Next week, things will be back to normal again. The memory of the Games fading from our midst like a smudged water-color painting. The once firm contours blending into each other – still beautiful, but not as striking when we think back about the Olympics and smile.
Anand’s Comment on the Olympic post warranted a separate blog entry by itself. So, I’ve posted his comment as an article.
Let us take swimming for instance. You need great swimming pools, researchers who understand fluid dynamics, companies that excel in fluid dynamics and continuously push their R&D to develop better swim suits, private companies that are willing to fund swimmers during their training and great universities that are willing to hire such swimmers into their program and nurture them so when they are in their mid 20s – they have a post swimming career in place.This is a heady concoction – which is available may be in the G7 countries of the world. Of course, I was surprised to see Coventry is Zimbabwean [of course she spent her last 6 years in Auburn.Cavic is Serbian only for olympics. He is a thoroughbred Californian. The other great swimmers from the non G7 countries seem to have gone to Ann-Arbor or Cal.Basically at this level of competition where the difference between #1 and #10 is less than half a second – infrastructure is EVERYTHING. I can extend this argument to Track and Field as well. San Jose Mercury News carried a story about why Jamaicans rule in Track and Field – it went back nearly 40 years to SJSU. Their athletic program took nearly 30 years to start yielding results. Of course a lot of the research support I mention is now available to those athletes too, who also train a lot in the US.If anything, I am totally convinced that to be anywhere near the top in any of these competitions, you better have the entire infrastructure to support you. When would India grow enough to create such support? Not anytime soon I think. If someone spent $200m to build a fantastic T&F center or a swim center – imagine the ruckus it would create right now. Only when the basic needs of the common man are met, can and will India think of esoteric acts such as excelling in sports come into being.Yes, there are random acts of individual brilliance that bring medals to much smaller countries – which will happen in India too. But as a system that generates medal winning athletes olympics after olympics – I would be very surprised if I saw it happen in our lifetime.
Anand further pointed us to an article written by Amit Verma
It was a long day. There were a number of interesting events today, but I’m here to report none of that. I sat in the car, in silence. I knew the lack of conversation was all my daughter needed to fall asleep. She had had a tiring day too, and had been extra active for the past 6 hours. I glanced across at my husband holding the steering wheel, and then looked out the window. It was either the full moon, or close to the full moon.
I felt strange, sitting there watching the trees go by, the cars whiz past. The clouds moved – dark gray clouds, but it wasn’t supposed to rain. How much one relies on the weather forecast, I thought idly. It was beautiful to watch the moon peer in and out of the gray clouds. Just as I thought some clouds were moving fast enough to eclipse the whole moon, the moon would slip out again. I watched the moon looking for a smile when it emerged. But all I saw was the bright moon with the same dark spots. I wondered about how we overload our thoughts and yearn for other things to change. Just because I wanted to find a smile is not going to change the moon’s contours to be a smile. The moon is the moon – reflecting sunlight, moving around the earth and awarding a peaceful moment to anyone willing the take the time to notice it.
I just sat and watched the moon slip in and out of the clouds the whole way home. I am trying to find the word for my feeling – but then I realise I cannot describe it. I couldn’t remember the last time I spent time just looking at the moon. Is peaceful the word? I am not sure, but it felt good. I watched as my husband stopped at the traffic signal – my daughter had slept.
I loved the for 7.2 miles in the silence of the moon.
It happens every leap year without fail. There is a sinking feeling, a feeling of great shame. As the second most populous nation in the world marches into the Olympic arena along with every other countries (some hitherto unheard of), the Indian in me cowers. I know of the feeble attempt we will manage, and feel terribly sorry to see the tiny contingent who has made it to the Games.
What do we lack?
Political will for sure. The making of Sports as an industry for another. Sports have to be made enticing enough to want to make people pursue them as a career. The prime-time in the life of an athlete is a short span, and if the industry surrounding this spurt does not sustain such talented individuals, few people would make the choice. There have to be careers for those who excel – as trainers, as team co-ordinators, as people who can be given the responsility to contributing to decisions in ways that touch not just their lives, but those of others who have the honor of representing the country. Cricket has achieved that, and I think it should be the same for other arenas too.
My husband and I were chatting about this, and one viable option would be to have a roadmap to win 5 medals in the next Olympics, and then make a career path for aspiring athletes. Make the infrastructure ready and available, hone skills and inspire people to succeed.
It is not difficult to achieve once the commitment is made, just difficult to overcome the reluctance to commit.