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Best athlete in the Olympics is...

I felt like Usain Bolt… of rehab group. I was the only one able to run, though, which sort of diminished my superiority. Even with a recent good progress in my rehab I might never be as fast as the Jamaican but damn I don’t even want to be an Olympic athlete – the whole concept of every fourth year is too harsh. I need the adrenalin rush and big chance to win every week. Allsvenskan might not be like Olympics but not many other sports have the same opportunity for big scale event week in week out.

I have had my other eye in Peking all the time with an extreme fascination, admiration and respect to the athletes and their achievements. It gives me the chills to watch the solo runs of Bolt, skills of US basketball team or the superiority of Phelps and I have the utter most respect to such a perfection of talent. However, this is not why I think the Olympics are the best, hardest and cruelest competition in the world.

Only looking at the face of Chinese sprinter Liu Xiang makes me wanna cry. His trainer couldn’t avoid the tears either, which is pretty obvious as he has been every day for years a bit closer to his protégé than I am behind my television screen now. The procedure of going through hundreds of stupid interviews and questions after disappointment being witnessed by the outrageous outside pressure is just the cruelest thing. However, he has it pretty good anyway. What I am most touched about usually happens in the background. Every day behind the winners in the corners of the screen can be seen these faces, which tell that something in the person is dying in that moment. Years of hard work, extreme life style and high hopes for just that one missed opportunity has just become harsh reality. Without much if any compensation most Olympic athletes have to physically, mentally and economically sacrifice everything - just to have that one chance for fulfillment in sports and economical reward. You got to be game that one day. And you must be shitting your pants not to have a little flue coming just then.

Susanna Kallur or Matt Emmons really are heartbreakers. I feel for them. But with all fairness and respect, Kallur and Emmons were not unlucky victims of anything… they just made mistakes in their sports all by themselves. It is the likes of Lassi Karonen and Jukka Keskisalo who are the gold medalists of suffering for me. Lassi Karonen, who surely has not many chances for glory because rowing isn’t the most pop sport in the globe, fell sick a day before his one claim for fame which he most likely would have otherwise dominated. He heroically still competed but with not much chance in a hard physical fight where every parts of second is crucial. I am a fan of Jukka Keskisalo and have the biggest possible respect for him as an athlete and a person. It already feels evolutionally an unfair competition for a young white runner from a Nordic country to compete against Kenya in 3000 meters hurdles. On top of that Jukka Keskisalo had to give one year head start to others due to severe injuries. He is a guy who says how it is, so I don’t think any paper could have ever printed what was in his mind after he made it to Peking but just missed the starting line after getting injured in his last training camp. For some reason after this terrible news I felt nothing reading from an American news paper how Cobe Bryant always stayed for few extra shots after trainings when he was young.

I am happy to be a footballer but think my sports have a lot to learn from many Olympics athletes. I have no idea of archery, rowing or gymnastics but I have been watching all these sports unknown to me with fascination. There is something noble in the look of an athlete who has the passion and concentration for whatever he is doing.



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