By SUZANNE DOWNING / FOR NEWSMAX
For the first time since 1972, the United States Olympic Team failed to win a medal of any color on the first day of competition. The team pulled about even with China on the second day in Tokyo.
Americans in the past would have been disappointed, or even alarmed at such a start to the Olympic Games. Instead, they were ambivalent.
The truth is, many Americans don’t care about the Olympics this year. Instead of being joyful that after a year of pause, the world is ready for sports competitions again, they are tired. They’re weary of brainwashed athletes who have been given the greatest opportunity in the history of the world to achieve their athletic dreams, only to spoil it for the rest of America by disrespecting our country.
At a youth baseball game in South Anchorage on Saturday, parents agreed: They “don’t give a damn” about the Olympics anymore. The feeling was universal, from conservatives to moderates. They didn’t even bother with the always theatrical kickoff ceremonies, which saw a 36 percent decline from that opening ceremony back in 2016. Jusst 16.7 million Americans watched the opening ceremony, the smallest audience for the event in 33 years, if NBC numbers are correct.
Just as they are tired of hearing movie stars lecture them about immigration, American conservatives have tuned out Tokyo. The athletes – some of them, at least – bought into the currently faddish idea that merit doesn’t count and that everything is all about equity, or equal outcomes, as opposed to opportunity. So be it, Americans are saying: “What’s the point in competition, if it’s all about equity?”
It’s worse. Conservatives actually cheered last week when the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team lost to Sweden in the opening match. The memes on social media were brutal: “Get woke, go broke.” In fact, there is a wide swath of America that is now hoping the women’s soccer squad will go home empty handed, a well-deserved reward for their faux resistance, take-a-knee insistence.
“Maybe if they would just focus on playing soccer and less on talking politics and espousing their personal opinions on many subjects. Dismal uninspired play. They’re acting like they don’t even want to be there,” wrote one Twitter user, echoing the sentiments of millions of Americans.
The men’s basketball team also spectacularly failed, suffering America’s first Olympic loss since 2004, and to France, of all countries, 83-76.
“Must be really difficult to win a game when 80% of the players hate the country they are playing for,” wrote another critic.
Cheering for your country’s team to lose on the international stage is new territory for America’s big socio-political divide. We have never seen Americans turn on their own Olympic team.
Sports lovers and those who appreciate athletic prowess far greater than their own can thank a handful of athletes who started the recent trend of lower spectator appreciation – Colin Kaepernick and Gwen Berry being among the most notorious for petulant behavior. Spectators walked with their TV channel changers over the past year.
The NFL and NBA have already suffered from Americans’ disgust. After two years of growth, in 2020 the audience for NFL games declined 7 percent, averaging the lowest average audience since 2017.
As for the NBA, they were down more than 35 percent after players started becoming political experts. Meanwhile, hockey, which is still a sport and not a political statement, is seeing viewership up by 14 percent.
Last week, more than 150 academics, activists, and athletes signed a five-page letter demanding that the International Olympics Committee to not punish athletes who demonstrate political statements during the Summer Olympics.
Berry, American hammer thrower, has already shown what we can expect if she is on the medals stand in Tokyo. She says she’ll use the Olympics platform to point out racial inequality in the United States.
How much of this will the International Olympics Committee tolerate? It has already made major changes to Rule 50, which bans political activism at the games. The new rule says demonstrations to occur so long as they happen before the start of competition.
In any case, a lot of Americans are “done with it,” according to those informally polled by Must Read America. More is the pity, because by and large, the athletes representing our country are hard-working and outstanding ambassadors for the United States. They don’t deserve our scorn or being lumped in with the brat pack.
Sadly, the ones who have spoiled the Olympics don’t seem to care. And America has returned the favor.
Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read America and Must Read Alaska, and writes for NewsMax.