As an American, and former coach, I felt immense pride as the United States flexed its athletic superiority by winning more medals than any other country at the recent Tokyo Olympiad, and third most at the Paralympic games.
I eagerly cheered as athletes overcame adversity to achieve sport supremacy. However, except for its entertainment value, I struggle to find how athletic excellence contributes to average Americans’ well being.
In 2021, The World Population Review reported that per capita; 56 countries had a lower poverty rate than America.
Disturbingly, the American suicide rate was reported to be double the world average.
Alarmingly, The Global Peace Index 2021, rated America as the 128th safest, or most peaceful country out of 163 evaluated. Lower than Brazil, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Lastly, the average American can expect to live 79 years, lower than expected in 47 other countries including: Israel, Greece and Canada.
I don’t consider myself a quixotic person, but I hope American leaders were inspired by our Olympians and choose to flex their collective intelligence in a manner which lands us on the podium in the areas above in the very near future.
Certainly it is not too much to expect that those elected to serve citizens of the “greatest” and wealthiest country in the world will put as much effort into the pursuit of excellence as our Olympians do.