Rio 2016: It’s all in the Muscle, Not the Dress


The Olympic countdown is nearing opening day and the world’s excitement is slipping into the highest gear. Rio-2016 will soon be flashing its rings and banners all over the planet, and the Olympic Fire will once again light up the globe. The Rio Olympic Village has already been inaugurated, in whch 18 thousand athletes will be residing, served by a 13 thousand-strong team of personnel and with a giant eatery capable of accommodating five thousand at a time.

The Georgian national team is ready to take off and join the best, the strongest and the healthiest on earth. This time, Georgia will have 39 athletes in 13 different sports to compete in the Games between August 5 and 21, and nine among them are women. It is said that these figures set a record in Georgia’s history of Olympic endeavors. To cover the games, 17 Georgian journalists were accredited in Rio. The Georgian national Olympic Committee hosted a special press conference, led by its President, who highlighted the “complicated and important mission of winning as many medals as possible in Rio” ahead for the Georgian Olympic team. The launching ceremony took place in the Olympic Park in Tbilisi, attended by President and Premier of the country, where the athletes were sworn in and applauded by the attending crowd. The solemn oath-taking was followed by the melody of Georgia’s national anthem.

Georgia’s Olympic basket already contains 37 gold, 28 silver and 52 bronze medals which is quite a harvest for a small nation like Georgia. Our niche in the world Olympic movement has clearly become conspicuous, and the opportunities are growing with every new Olympic Games. Suffice to say that our capital city hosted the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival and coped with the mission perfectly well.

Rio’s famous Maracanã Stadium will soon see the fruits of the joint four-year sporting efforts of Georgia’s athletes and coaches, supported by numerous organizations. Putting it straight, I don’t exactly believe in a famous Olympic adage which says that it is the fact of participation in the games that counts rather than victory. I personally believe that “participation is good but winning is better,” as Leri Khabelov, the GNOC President and himself many-time World and the Olympic Champion, once noted. I couldn’t agree more.

And did you hear the talk about the Georgian athletes’ ceremonial Olympic costumes? Some liked the design of the uniforms and some simply hate it. Well, tastes differ and I am afraid it would be utterly impossible to live up to everybody’s expectations. One might say that the costumes could have been in better taste, but right now, I would not make a big deal out of it, and would not have our ladies and gentlemen of sports getting nervous and frustrated because of varied public opinion. After all, the dress will not compete in the games to win a medal- it is the athletic talent and degree of training that does the job. Right now, I would rather go for courage and muscle than the ceremonial apparel. We can try better next time, can’t we? Let us now focus on the glitter of gold which we need so much to decorate our sportive Georgian chests with. The design of clothing will soon be forgotten, but the tune of the anthem played to the fact of another Olympic triumph will stay in the global remembrance forever.

This way or that, our boys and girls are ready and poised, and they have all received the blessing of Georgia’s Patriarch. Anything to help, even a costume in controversial taste, because the desire to compensate for the failed attire with a medal might also be a strong incentive for winning a contest.

Nugzar B. Ruhadze

28 July 2016 21:00