|Not the Olympic Medals|
Here are some of my medals; a colourful bunch I'm delighted to call my own. But, as you can see, they are not the Olympic Medals.
The reason for displaying this selection of medals is that I recently read a Yahoo! News report to the effect that an Olympic bronze medal was worth in material terms about $3.50.
But of course an Olympic Medal brings its owner cash from advertising and sponsorship and glory at home and so there are athletes who will not hesitate to take performance enhancing drugs and masking agents to try and win a gold medal. In other words they are prepared to cheat.
To me the monetary value of a medal is not its first importance. I think the real importance lies in the effort made to gain the medal. Some people call this 'the hard sacrifice' that the would-be medalist has to make. But I don't think in these terms.
I think it's in the basic day to day training that the real joy and passion is to be found; or ought to be.
The long hours I spend jogging, trotting, dawdling and sprinting on the local woodland trails with my water bottle and camera are precious and priceless.
The sun, the rain, the wind, the snow, the mists, the moon, the ever-changing shades, the four seasons, the birdsong, the sight of the deer, the fox, the squirrel, the flowers, even the very earth and rock itself; it's all a magical wonderland.
I am very lucky, in my middle sixties, to be fit and able enough to put to good use the wonderful countryside of the Vienna Woods.
It feels like play; and to my way of thinking that makes it right. And yes, I really do appreciate it.
I will not comment on the various quasi-sports now being played out in stadiums and halls full of judges and referees, backed-up by expensive and sophisticated timekeeping and measuring equipment, except to say that I think it's all going rapidly downhill.
I feel it won't be long until Formula 1 motor racing, for example, becomes an Olympic sport.
Tiddlywinks was mentioned as a possibility some years ago.
And I cannot speak for the boredom or the dedication of the swimmer who swims back and forth in a 50 meter lane, with the water at a controlled temperature, for endless hours. For me such an exercise would be mental torture.
And so I have the medals. Some are merely for finishing. Others are for gaining a place on the podium.
They are not the Olympic Medals. They are a testament to amateurism. Sport in a natural environment and purely for the joy of it.