Why Do You Watch the Olympics？你為什么看奧運？
Lindsay Crouse 林賽·克勞斯
Growing up in the 1990s， I didn't have photos of movie stars on my bedroom wall — I had Joan Benoit Samuelson. Sprinting to victory at the first women's Olympic marathon， she looked confident and joyful and tough. I read about the sprinter Wilma Rudolph， the 20th child of a Tennessee railroad porter. She wore metal leg braces as a girl but grew up to be an Olympic champion;
I taped her photo to my wall， too. Later I watched a number of champions on my television: Venus Williams in tennis， Jackie Joyner-Kersee in track， Misty Hyman in swimming. All perfect additions to my wall. To me they were heroes.
Then I learned about what really went on around the Olympics. Children were assaulted by their gymnastic team's doctor. Champions were fueled by drugs instead of grit. Officials enriched themselves while athletes toiled. The Games started to feel like little more than a national branding exercise — and a costly distraction from our long list of crises.
This year there's even more to criticize. Tokyo is shaping up to be an angry Olympics， and with good reason: corporate greed， climate decay， racial inequity and the risk that holding the Games during a still-raging pandemic will make them a superspreader event.
Some have said they've lost their enthusiasm for watching the Games. I think there's still a way to enjoy the Olympics this year — and even to love them. The appeal of the Games has never really been the Olympics as an institution;it's the Olympians themselves. And since I was a kid putting their photos on my walls， the Olympians haven't really changed. These athletes still showcase extraordinary human achievement from around the world. This year's roster is as excellent as ever. Watching them makes you hope.
We don't have many ways left in our culture to be collectively inspired. After more than a year of lockdown， tragedy and uncertainty， watching athletes achieve their dreams despite all the challenges felt like one. This year I will eat it all up and watch Olympians push through adversity and pain to triumph. In such a broken time， there's a particular salve that these triumphs offer， an example to spur us forward.