Watching the Olympics this morning, I think I’ve decided the order in which I like to see countries win events. It’d be easy to say “I just want my country to win everything”, but actually I don’t 😉 That’d be really boring and no fun at all. So, I reckon my order goes:
- small or underdeveloped countries that don’t see much Olympics success (e.g. Bermuda, Ecuador, Tunisia)
- Australia 😉
- countries that usually see a moderate amount of Olympics success (e.g. Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand, larger Latin American countries, and smaller or less successful European ones)
- affluent countries that are usually pretty good at the Olympics (e.g. Canada and larger European countries like Germany, France, Italy, the UK)
- the big countries that always dominate at the Olympics (e.g. China, Russia, and the USA)
Now, obviously the lines between the different groups are a bit fuzzy, so it’s not like every country within a group is absolutely on par for me. There are also some that are hard to place, like India, which actually really struggles at the Olympics considering its size but they’re such a powerhouse of cricket that I can’t mentally group them with countries that win similar numbers of medals, like Indonesia or Mongolia. In general, I think I end up supporting smaller countries that punch above their weight over larger countries that underperform, mainly because I tend to have a better idea of how populous/wealthy a country is than of its past Olympics performance.
The cringey nationalism inherent to the Olympics probably also makes it hard for me to support countries with governments that I strongly dislike, like Israel or Saudi Arabia, especially if they tend to politicise their participation or performance. Maybe I should have made this a group 6 above. I reserve this sentiment for the absolute worst offenders though because honestly, most countries have pretty shit governments.
When it comes to any specific event, there can obviously be extra factors weighing on my mind, like how much I like a particular athlete, or how good a country is at that sport (like, it’s more exciting to see a country do well at something out of the norm for them! If I wasn’t Australian myself, I’d think it must be so boring to see us win swimming events so often 🤣). Another example would probably be, my partner being from a non-white South African family himself, I tend to get more excited for them than for white South African competitors. Actually, the same probably goes for any athlete who I know comes from a less privileged background compared to others from the same country.
Overall, I guess, I like a bit of excitement in my Games. And like most people, I think, I’m a sucker for an underdog story. The more that medals are shared around, particularly to athletes and nations that weren’t the obvious favourites and faced a bit of adversity to get there, the happier I am (although I still want Australia to win a little bit 😉).