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U.S. Setting Arrogance

Records At Olympics

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U.S. Olympic athletes Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Jordyn Wieber. Images by Vectorportal, Pictlux and An Honorable German, used under a Creative Commons License.
Michael Phelps Affirms Olympic Traditions While Ryan Lochte, Jordyn Wieber And The Dream Team Display Attributes That Bring Bad Karma To The U.S.

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By Adam Piontkowski
Special for Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 3, 2012 — Arrogance has run rampant among U.S. Olympians this year, and it could be this country’s greatest downfall at this year’s games.

World champion gymnast Jordyn Wieber — the favorite to win all-around in women's gymnastics — might have been the first to fall victim to the tragedy of arrogance. She became her own worst enemy thanks to high expectations. She was “expected” to win, which gave her hubris in a very competitive field. She appeared to be distracted by making the individual all-around that she could not relax and see that she needed the support of her teammates.

Individual all-around qualifying is achieved through the team qualifications. Her teammates were all looking to do well on their own. Perhaps they were thinking their scores would only support the team and that Jordyn would be a shoe-in for the all-around by doing what she always does — putting up very high scores.

Unfortunately, it seems that her air of greatness and public pressure was too much for Jordyn to handle and she fell a couple tenths of a point short in advancing to the individual all-arounds. She secured the third highest all-around score for Americans in a field where only two Olympians per country can advance.

Although arrogance may help the U.S. win by believing we are the best, it also will come back to bite some of the competitors in the butt because it is easy to get comfortable at the top — while those chasing are still hungry.

Ryan Lochte’s blatant arrogance is a lot less subtle compared to Wieber. After beating American rival Michael Phelps, he sported a grill — perhaps the quintessential adornment of arrogance in America — on the medal stand for the whole world to see.

Sorry, Mr. Lochte, but you are not an arrogant rapper for poser kids nationwide to falsely idolize.

You are an Olympian and should hold yourself in higher esteem. People wearing grills are not even cool anymore, anyone who does mocks themselves. Lochte must not get out much — which is to be expected of an Olympian — but even rappers are beginning to realize grills suck and typically only joke rappers like Riff Raff are still sporting them.

Luckily, no member of the U.S. basketball team is yet sporting a grill, but its still early. The newest dream team is so confident they are not even giving other countries any respect or consideration. Instead, they are more concerned by the outcome of a fantastical game between them and the first dream team — which could not happen anyways. I do still expect the U.S. to dominate basketball, because of the strong competitive spirit they have in the NBA and outlandish amounts of skill the team has, but I would not be surprised if they relaxed too much for a game and had to pull it together in the end to win.

They are not the original dream team, and the reason they would not beat the team of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan is because arrogance. Without a strong competitor to face, all they can do is talk, anyway. The real dream team did not need a strong competitor to still show respect for the meaning behind the Olympics and showing respect for other countries — perhaps excepting for Charles Barkley in the game against Angola.

To add insult to injury, many current U.S. Olympians are complaining about something called rule 40. This has to do with the Olympics forcing Olympians to drop any sponsorships during the time of the Olympics of things that are not officially sanctioned. Ryan Whiting of Arizona State took to twitter to show his dismay over the temporary loss of his sponsorship.

I do not know when Olympians began to start caring about sponsorships, but who really cares. Just be the best you can be and provide that example to all those watching. Sponsorships come with gold medals. If you are worrying about your sponsorships before you even compete, you are most likely not going to win anything, and that is the arrogance that will completely destroy the spirit of the Olympics for American competitors as well as future competitors you should be inspiring.

Michael Phelps stands alone this Olympics and will continue to be the American hero by becoming the all-time medal winner, as well as choosing to grow more as a person inspiring younger generations to work hard at what they love.

Throughout it all — including his Subway commercials — Phelps will exemplify that being a true Olympian is what really gets you sponsorships, not your skills at getting sponsorships.

And, please, no more grills.

Adam Piontkowski is a pretentious hippie and a freelance writer from Arizona.
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