I am quite far from sports and not very interested watching competitions on TV, but one thing I notice from time to time is the following and it is something we would be better curing going forward (yet I don’t know how to cure this).
People tend to associate results in sports with performance of current political regime or even personality of a particular president. Olympic games in Sochi are not officially closed yet, and currently Russian team has 27 medals in total. Many people are asking questions like “Has Putin done a good job?” or stating something like “Ha-ha, you see, 27 medals, $50B were spent for good!”. Some people are wondering if the medal plan has been met.
This is a completely wrong thinking pattern. This is unhealthy thinking pattern.
Politicians and bureaucrats were there organizing Olympic facilities and infrastructure. They were on administrative side of things and we can analyze how good their performance by looking at the actual stuff they did and actual price they paid (of our money) and whether or not there were any better ways spending all this money (there always were).
The actual score of the national sport team is irrelevant. Sport is captured by national propaganda machine whether it is Russia or any other country, but it doesn’t mean you should follow irrational way of thinking. Putin hasn’t been a trainer of any of the sportsmen performing on these games. He didn’t jump from the springboard even once, he didn’t stay on snowboard even a minute. He wasn’t there competing at all with all these officials fantasizing about how many medals “should we win”. Officials are not winning these medals, particular sportsmen do. And trying to mix themselves in sport victories of sportsmen is at least incorrect and questionable from moral standpoint.
Consider this. Israel has 0 medals. Has prime-minister Netanyahu done a lousy job? Doesn’t this sound ridiculous? Yes, Israel doesn’t have world class athletes for winter games, and it is a hot tropical country. So what prime-minister has to do with this calamity? Nothing. Denmark and Andorra, I believe these are quite relevant countries for winter sports have 0 medals. Has this happen because Helle Thorning-Schmidt done a bad job (PM of Denmark) or probably it was Antoni Martí who failed miserably (PM of Andorra)? I think somehow these gentlemen are not really blamed for the results national teams have.
However, somehow we connect two things together: “Putin has a lot of power and influence in Russia” and “Olympic team should perform well”. How much power Putin needs to speed our ski sportsmen up? I don’t have an answer for this, I even think his power doesn’t work any meaningfully here even if Putin was an emperor or a king.
The particular performance of the sportsmen could be above expectations or below expectations set by his trainer, not some sports minister or president. If it is above expectations — fantastic. If it is below.. well, I don’t know, may be a bad luck, may be some health/psychological/emotional condition played its role. Putin is not present in this situation either way. It is personal success or failure of a particular sportsman.