There have been some amazing winners, losers and displays of sportsmanship during these Olympic games. The standouts were definitely the women's 4X100 relay, Gabby Douglas, Phelps, Lochte, Pistorius, May-Treanor/Walsh - I could go on endlessly.
Since we're in the height of picking Fantasy Football Leagues around here, I started thinking, what if you were to pick a Fantasy Athlete Team from the Olympians. I know, there's no way to actually compare the sports and compete against each other, but I wondered who I would pick.
I thought about performance before, during and after their events. I thought about heart and strength. I thought about cockiness vs. confidence and I thought about who I would want to stand next to during competition.
The reason I pitted Usain Bolt against Missy Franklin is because I see them as polar opposites. The arrogance that Bolt displayed really turned me off. Yet the innocence and pure joy that Franklin showed was so enduring and heartwarming. I remember reading an article about Missy last winter about how hard she had been recruited to go pro and how she chose to stay in high school and stick with her local coach and club.
Listening to Bolt being interviewed after his races, he often referred to himself as a legend. Clearly he is. He is by far the fastest man on Earth. What an amazing title. But he has the title and he has EVERYONE talking about and admiring him. But as Bob Costas said at the end of one of the day's performances, "hard to have a higher opinion of Usain Bolt than he has of himself." This is after hearing Bolt say, "Who's number 1... me, all day, every day."
So at that level of competition, do you think you need a sort of cockiness to be THAT good? With everyone gunning for you, do you need to keep telling yourself how incredibly awesome you are?
I don't know any of the athletes personally, but for my fantasy Olympic athlete team, I'm picking the overall great athletes that are humble and respectful. They work hard and let others do the praise for them. I'm picking Missy Franklin among the many other athletes that impressed me much more off the field and out of the pool. I also need to make sure I put a bid in for Kerri Walsh. Did you ever notice that after every set she went around and shook everyone's hand. Not just the obligatory nod to the officials. She goes around to everyone working around the court.
I know it's kind of like picking football players based on their haircut, but my humble and genuine players are always going to win in the end. Even if I lose all my betting money, I'll still be able to be proud of the honorable selections. And I don't think I'll ever have to worry about any of them showing up on a police blotter.