The summer Olympics have now come and gone. I watched some of it most days, although usually on youtube – it’s so great to be able to “rewind” at will! It’s also exciting to see someone come from behind and win – or at least place. The race in this video is the 1500 meters – all I know is, it’s four times around the track. In my day, once around the track was 440 yards, and four times was 1 mile. Meters – fugetaboutit!
If you watched the video above, you saw a great performance. Leo Manzano (one of the USA runners) is in this final race of 12 runners. For most of the race, he appears to be around 10th place, and then you see he has moved into sixth place. However, once they ring the bell when the first runner is starting the last lap, he starts REALLY moving. This guy actually passes four runners and at the very last moment he moves into 2nd place and wins the silver! That’s one heck of a kick at the end!
It’s not on the video, but afterwards – well, IMO, he just ruins it. He runs around the track to celebrate – carrying TWO flags. Says he’s proud he could represent his TWO COUNTRIES.
So what’s this guy’s backstory? Well, this guy’s parents came here illegally when he was 4 years old. At some point, he becomes a citizen – dual citizenship, of course. He goes through his entire schooling – grade school, middle school, high school, college – in the U.S. He’s a runner from an early age, representing his – American – high school and college. He qualifies to join the US Olympic team. I mean, c’mon, the guy is an AMERICAN! You want to think of yourself as being Mexican, a place you lived in before you can even remember? A place your parents wanted to leave? Fine, that’s YOUR issue, but if you are representing the US, you are running FOR the US! Mexico sure didn’t pay for ANY thing for this guy over his life, and they sure didn’t train him. They didn’t provide that jersey he’s wearing that says USA!
For heaven’s sake, I lived in Brooklyn until I was 3 years old. Of course, I don’t remember it, just as I’m sure he can’t remember living in Mexico. My parents were born and raised in Brooklyn, and are very proud of it – but I don’t go around saying I’m a Brooklynite! (I understand it used to be different in Brooklyn than it is now. It used to have a tree growing there, but I think the hoodlums populating the place now have urinated on the tree and it died!)
I think this writer put it very well:
Some people will insist that this is Manzano’s choice to make, that it was his sweat and sacrifice that got him to London, and this was his victory to celebrate however he saw fit. Those people are wrong. They’re focused on the individual. But the last thing the Olympics is about is the individual.
It’s about being part of a team — the U.S. Olympic team. It’s about national pride, not ego. Manzano wasn’t there to compete for himself but to represent his country. All he had to do was decide which country that was. He chose not to choose.
What am I missing? Where were the Italian-American athletes waving the Italian flag, or the Irish-Americans waving the Irish flag? I didn’t see that.
Well, I’m out-of-state (still in the US!) visiting my mom right now, so I’m going to have her write a few guest-writer words on this subject! Here’s my mom:
When I win an Olympic race, I won’t be strong enough to carry a flag for each country to which I can trace my roots. I would need to wear a green hat for Ireland, a plaid kilt for Scotland, a Swiss watch, and carry a beer stein from Germany. But that would be a slap in the face to America, the land that has given me so much all my life.
And pity The Statue of Liberty who watched the Olympic races and wondered how, even if she were to put down her torch, she could possibly carry a flag for every nation that had sought solace and shelter in her shadow. Then she realized that there was only one flag to which all those people owed a lifetime of gratitude. She marveled at how well Manzano had been trained in America and how well he had performed in the race.
The Statue of Liberty’s only regret was the fact that he had to stop running, because otherwise he might have gotten to Mexico by now!
Signed, lorac’s mom (PS – since I see my daughter now spells the name I gave her at birth backwards, I want you to know that I’m spelling MY name – “mom” – backwards here, too!)
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