Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Inflation: It's Not Just for Money Anymore

During the Olympic Games, you will see the best of the best from each country. You will see the results of blood, sweat, and tears. You may also see history made in the form of new records, whether they are Olympic records or World records. If you have been watching the Olympics for the past week and a half, you've noticed that a lot of records have been shattered during these games; some of the records that were set during the games were shattered again later in the games (Rebecca Soni's breaststroke, for example). With these instances becoming more frequent, what is the kind of inflation going on in the world of sports?

We can't blame it on doping...right?
Here's looking at you, Marion Jones.
Don't get me wrong, athletes are allowed to push the envelope, but good gravy--what do they eat? What do they do to be able to inspire and influence a world by setting a time or a score that can be immortalized?

In today's day and age, we are suffering from the ultimate inflation of athleticism. There may be records that haven't been broken in over 20 years, but there are records being broken on a consistent basis; records that may only stand for a year or two. There are definitely records that are impressive due to the natural talent being displayed (Usain Bolt), and there are records that are going to stand from long-standing determination (Michael Phelps' 22 medals since 2004). However, what about the other things? Will there be something for the younger ones to believably chase?

I'm sure that there will be. In a major age such as this, we have the tools and abilities to help enhance the talents and abilities of the children asking for help and for the capability to do the things they see on television or on the Internet. These athletes have the heart and soul that are required to work at the rate their coaches expect of them. Cooperation between athlete and coach are key in making the impossible actually become possible.

You could say that the standards of training have been pushed skyward, as coaches are being more stringent on training and everyday practices, and the athletes themselves are living and breathing their sport so much more than before. Grant it, these things pay off, but is it natural to be this good and to be breaking records this easily? What are we leaving for the children that are future swimmers or runners? That's an easy question to answer--a smaller margin of for error that separates the athletes from the hobbyists.

Katie Ledecky is practically a child and now a gold medalist...and it makes me feel incredibly old and flabby.
There is no denying that this is an epic age for sports. There doesn't seem to be any room in the sky for the numerous amounts of talent breaking records and making history. I'm scared of it, but in a good way. Just think, with the impressive displays of athletes, we could actually see something like a 100-meter dash done in eight seconds. Age could be a factor too; we witnessed 15-year old Katie Ledecky break the Olympic record for the 800-meter freestyle, and it could only get better for a young girl like her. Believe me, it gets better for these people, but it gets scarier for the people striving for greatness. In order to be the best, you have to match something like that. The human body is an impressive thing, so I'm pretty sure that this "inflation" thing shouldn't be a big deal for the children and teenagers looking for the ultimate prize of being called a champion.