Olympics Closing Ceremony, London 2012.
For most Malaysians, the excitement of Olympics was over following the closure of the badminton event which involves our now acclaimed ‘Nation’s Hero’ Dato Lee Chong Wei. The final match against China’s most favoured badminton player Lin Dan was one of the most exciting and brilliant matches I’ve ever watched as both of them showcased extraordinary skills in the game, leaving the audience clapping wildly in action or in mind. In addition, it was also entertaining to see those slow-motion captures of the players or their coaches. Nothing beats that Brunei flag in the spectator crowd, looks like they’re rooting for their neighbour country. (;
It was certainly a pity how the game drew to an end with Lin Dan winning when LCW accidentally sent the shuttlecock a few inches too far from the border. And off that tattoo man went, dashing across the side of the court arms widespread after tossing aside his racquet. The first heartbreaking scene of LCW came as he kneeled on the ground in despair, accepting the fact that all hopes of Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medal are crushed. Thank God for the two coaches who are there to offer first-hand comfort.
On the podium, we saw a beaming Lin Dan waving enthusiastically to the crowds and a sorrowful LCW who had a hard time bracing a smile because he failed to have ‘Negaraku’ playing for the first time in Olympics. He probably did not expect the overwhelming support and encouragement fellow Malaysians had in store for him despite the defeat. In country-mates’ eyes, he managed to unite the nation as 1Malaysia during the course of his match, which is a bigger feat than grabbing gold. I would hate to be sarcastic here as I like the reasoning and agree it’s true too, but further pondering made me wonder how beneficial it is towards our country’s unity. Will related issues, eg. ethnic/racial problems be any more resolved in the future? Sadly, I doubt so. To make things worse, ignorance turned a medal win into a political topic at some point. How the political field astonishes me, really. But back to the subject, of course it is not something to not be happy about. I enjoyed cheering on for LCW with my friends too, knowing that the rest of the country is doing the same elsewhere.
On a different perspective, I would say LCW is considered quite lucky. I am sure there are plenty of other athletes participating in any event who have paid as much effort but due to their respective reasons, failed to achieve their target. Among these, some might not have received as much love as LCW did. My heart goes out especially to those who unfortunately made a mistake during the competition, most commonly found in diving, gymnastics and similar events. A slip of action, a second of misjudgement – that’s all it costs to crumple one’s dream, even if it’s just a dream of completing one’s routine successfully and not a position on the podium. It’s not like they practised less, it’s just that things took a wrong turn at the wrong time. Saddening, isn’t it? Then there’s the fact that certain events receive far less attention because they are less popular. It is equally heart-rending how these participants do not have people’s recognition and support. Take for example the trampoline event – how many would be backing the participants who landed outside the trampoline bed? Face buried in hands to contain their desolation, the disappointment is as evident as ever. Yet out of the stadium, few would acknowledge their hard work in preparation for the Games.
Sometimes, cheering can change into jeering too easily. When Malaysia’s paired diving representatives bagged the 7th or 8th spot in the finals, comments about how bad their performance were appeared on the Internet. Even the newspapers had to put it in such a way that they performed poorly and only managed to rank no.7 or 8. Can’t we just be proud of them for their achievements? It is Malaysia’s first time squeezing into the finals for these diving events thanks to these aspiring divers, yet they have to be criticized by the public. It does not make sense.
Still, warm congratulations to LCW and Pandelela for the medals they won! This has to be Malaysia’s best Olympics results in history. Congratulations also to all other participants who did their best whether they went home with a medal or not. You’re a winner as long as you competed with honourable sportsmanship. It’s the memory and experience that count anyway at times. (: