Support teen journalism.

 

If you're going to shop at amazon.com, please click through The Tattoo's website first. It will bring us a share of amazon's profits and won't cost you a thing! Just click on the red link below to reach amazon.com. THANK YOU!


Making a permanent impression since 1994.

• Home Page

Read The Tattoo's blog

• All issues

• Who we are

• Movies

• Cartoons

• Shop at amazon.com

Support Youth Journalism International's efforts to  connect teen writers, artists and photographers with peers around the globe, teach journalism, foster cross-cultural understanding, and promote and defend a free youth press.

X Trials | Katrina journals |Teen suicideTeen pregnancy |  School violence | Travel | Journals | Daily Sketch | Awards | Contact us

September 1, 2008

 

United Behind Our Athletes

 

By Mariechen Puchert

Junior reporter

Youth Journalism International
 

East London, Eastern Cape, SOUTH AFRICA – As a South African teenager, I realize the great honor of the Olympics. Due to our country's previous apartheid regime, South Africa was banned from 95 percent of international sports from the 1970s to the early ‘90s.

Being a country with 11 different cultures and languages, sport is also one of the few things that unite us all, regardless of the still-existing racial tensions of today.

There was never a prouder moment than when our men's relay swimming team beat the world record at the 2004 Olympics, or when Natalie du Toit was the first amputee to qualify for able-bodied Olympic swimming.

Needless to say, we were expecting great things.

But then, disappointment is part of the world of sports.

The first embarrassment involved a swimmer that went home on account of the pollution. That is his human right, of course, but very much strengthens the stereotype of sports stars as people who expect to be treated as royalty.

Then came our staggering defeat in the swimming section – thought to be our “strongest.” At least du Toit came in 16th in the womens 10km marathon, which is better than most of the world can do with TWO legs!

A lot of pressure for a medal was placed on Sifiso Nhlapo, South Africa's only BMX racer to qualify for the Olympics (and that after having to borrow a bicycle for the trials) and when he suffered that devastating fall in the finals, South Africans gasped and cried for him.

South Africa has been ranked 71st in the medal count, below Zimbabwe, whom we so easily criticize.

One might say that the 2008 Olympics were a shame to South Africans, but I would beg to differ.

For 16 days, I saw my country united.

Beggars stood with old radios or in front of television dealers to catch a snippet of information.

My friends wrote notes of expectation and disappointment on Facebook.

We felt our athletes' pain, and when they return to their communities, we will treat them as heroes and not as failures, for they have still managed to do what 99 percent of us could not.

There are those who wish to scold our athletes, but they do not understand the true spirit of the Olympics – and they are too blind to see the unified spirit our country has displayed in supporting our sports stars.

Read more coverage of the 2008 Olympics


Add us to your online bookmark site:
Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your blinklist account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your delicious account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your digg account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your fark account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your furl account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your magnolia account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your newsvine account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your reddit account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your simpy account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your spurl account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your myyahoo account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your shadows account Add http://www.readthetattoo.com to your sync2it account Monitor http://www.readthetattoo.com with Blogarithm Meneame

 

© 2008 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Who we are  |  Join us  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

WebSTAT - Free Web Statistics