Olympic spirit

The Netherlands seems to have made up for its initial slow start at the Beijing Olympics. Our 16 medals have brought us into the top 10 of the medal tally – quite an achievement for a small country.

Doing better than the French, Spaniards, Poles and the Turks would tickle the ego of most people. But the Dutch would not be Dutch if they did not complain anyway.
Many feel that the number of medals won this year is meagre. The total has not been this ‘low’ since Barcelona 1992 (15). In Atlanta (19), Sydney (25) and Athens (22) the Dutch were spoiled to such an extent that anything less is seen as not good enough.
Critics always find something to moan about. A well-known sport columnist lamented the fact last week that his colleagues tend to bathe in ‘unbound chauvinism’ instead of criticism whenever the colour Orange is at stake.
Another said that the down-to-earth atmosphere at the Holland House club, where victories are celebrated by thousands of orange-clad enthusiasts, has become ‘a bit too jolly’.
What is all this negativity good for? Should we be drowning in despondency while all around us others are celebrating their achievements?
Fortunately there are other voices too. It was striking to see how our athletes did not seem to care which medal they won over the past two weeks. Yes, there were some tears, but the broad grins said it all. Congratulations.

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