Olympics tout ‘One Dream’ — but whose dream is it?

I DIDN’T WATCH LIN MIAOKE LIP-SYNCH “Ode to the Motherland.” I didn’t watch Togo win its first Olympic medal, and I didn’t watch Michael Phelps win his eighth gold.

In fact, I watched very little of the Beijing Olympics, a fact that comes as a shock to many people I associate with.

I’m not normally much of a sports fan, but my disinterest in the Olympics doesn’t come from the same place as disinterest in sports usually does.

Here’s what it is: “One World One Dream,” was the slogan for this year, a phrase that makes little sense to me.

I haven’t found much guidance as to what that dream might be, aside from the benign and obvious assertion that we all aspire to “build a better future.”

Realistically — at least, in my eyes — the Olympics has much less to do with unification than it does with reinforcing stratifications.

It isn’t about basking in the feel-good notion of friendly competition. It’s about collecting medals, about trying to prove that your country is better than Italy, better than Romania, better than South Korea and Angola.

As if Angola didn’t have things pretty rough already.

What is this common goal, though? What exactly is it that all the nations of the world strive for that can be somehow encapsulated in an archery competition?

Just this weekend, Cuban taekwando competitor Angel Valodia Matos was banned from the sport for life for kicking a referee in the face.

What goal was he trying to achieve, and what does it have to do with me? What dream do we share?
I just don’t see it.

Certainly, it’s heartening to see traditionally disenfranchised countries come up strong against their first-world competitors, but only because we realize that we are not on the same page as them.

We are not on the same team, and we sure don’t share the same dream.

So here’s what I think: screw the Olympics.

Ethiopia shouldn’t need a track to prove to the world that its people are valuable. That they are humans should be enough.

The suggestion of a common dream isn’t nearly as profound to me as the simple recognition that the residents of the world’s poorest countries indeed have dreams.

Because if anything’s true, it is that we do still share the same world.

We can do more for it than just pay lip service to the unexpected winners — unexpected, of course, because they don’t share the same quality of life as us.

Instead, maybe we work on that first.

Then we can work toward that “one dream.”

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