I get about half of what Bode Miller has been saying. I understand that there can be great performances that don’t result in gold medals or world championships and wins. I get that. I get that you have to live for your own expectations, and not those of other people. I get that winning and losing isn’t always everything.
But there are things I don’t get. I don’t get why it’s okay to come to the Olympics and not try your hardest to win. I don’t get why you wouldn’t train as hard as you possibly could. I don’t get why it’s a bigger goal to party with a positively frightening woman and socialize “at an Olympic level” than it is to actually put forth your best performance. I don’t get why it’s OK to take a spot on the Olympic team from someone who would’ve taken it seriously and who would’ve tried their hardest.
When you have the talent to be the best, then it is about winning. To say it isn’t is to completely cop out, to make excuses for why you don’t have to make that commitment. Bode Miller is not the Jamaican bobsled team. He’s one of the best in the world. It shouldn’t be about just being here. I believe he does have an obligation to try and win. It’s not enough to go out and “rock.” If he can’t take having that responsibility, he should quit. Give the spot to someone who will give an honest effort. Give it to someone who believes the Olympics are more than about partying.
We watch sports because we want to see winners and losers. These sports exist because we watch with the assumption that we’re going to see who’s the best. And when someone goes out there without having prepared to the best of their ability, we don’t see that. When someone goes out there who just wants to “rock,” we don’t get that. Ultimately, as sports fans, we’re sold something that we aren’t getting.
Hey, I don’t care that he didn’t win. Lots of people didn’t win. Even with all the commercials, all the headlines, the 60 Minutes, the magazine covers, etc… if he goes over there and busts his ass, and someone was better… that’s fine. I didn’t think poorly of Dan O’Brien when Reebok’s Dan and Dave campaign went bust. But I do think poorly of Bode Miller for treating the Olympics as if they were just an opportunity for him to make some Nike money and have a good time.