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ABC’s “Wild World of Sports” was a popular TV program that ran for 37 years. It had a memorable intro, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat,” as it showed the spectacular wipe-out of a Slovenian skier, who was unhurt. That slogan remains in our lexicon to this day.
The show was wildly popular not only because it highlighted major sporting events, but also minor sports that seldom got any media attention. I also think then, as now, it allowed all of us a moment of vicarious pleasure to daydream about how it must feel to win or lose in pursuit of an athletic goal. That’s a feeling that many viewers must be sharing as they watch the Olympic Games.
As I watched the greatest sporting display on earth, I couldn’t help but wonder whether there weren’t lessons that we could pluck from the games by simply being an observer. The Olympics, like everyday life, is far from perfect. But mostly in this great competition the vast majority of competitors, with some notable exceptions, have taken the high road, looking for commonality and camaraderie in the pursuit of a common goal — victory — even as they compete against each other.