The Olympic Games opening today in Sydney!

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A hint as you can expect from me!

Subsequently statements starting ½I knew½ can be made. I can see it now that the Olympics will be successful for the Hungarian sport. I expect twelve Olympic gold medals but I would not be astonished if we won 13-14!

Supposedly, during the next few weeks crowds of people will be ½forced½ to sit in front of the television screen by the various Olympic sport events. Owing to the time-difference it can be taken for granted that as a result of night commentaries we will come across a lot of sleepy people. It is a happy period for sportsfans but not only for them. The number of people watching the events of the Olympic Games is known to be fifteen-twenty times more than the number of regular spectators of different sport competitions.

Businessmen, company executives and those who want to settle a matter in this period in the maze of bureaucracy are not so lucky. During the Olympic Games, a temporary recession in economic performance can even reach a measurable level and the number of arranged public administrarion issues and judgements passed at court are decreasing. There is a perceptible fall concerning capacity and efficiency of work as at the time of summer holidays. Mentioning these problems, however, does not imply a counter-argument against the Olympics! The general experience is that individuals, enterprises, economy, and public administration have the flexibility and reserves to make up for lost time within a few weeks, to work off the losses made during the competitions.

I am convinced that mankind do need the Olympic games! We need it because each of us has only one life, which we must live to the full. We should regularly get out of daily routine (eating, sleeping, working, etc.) and have to do something else, something characteristic of being human (friendship, love, hobbies, travelling, culture, sport, etc.). Whichever of these we choose and do, it makes our lives, more beautiful, better and mainly fuller.

Now let´s support the Hungarian sportsmen and sportswomen. Let´s support them to make their dreams come true to take part in the competitions of the queen of sports at the highest possible level. Probably, it is true for all of us that when taking up a sport, it seemed unbelievably distant but perhaps one of the nicest hopes to participate in one of the Olympics as a sportsman. They are there now and probably their dreams have ½grown stronger½. Now, their dreams are about reaching the finals and becoming a medallist or scoring for the competition of the countries. Hopefully, for most of them it is about winning and becoming an Olympic champion. It would be good if there were as many Hungarian spectators as possible who could really feel the spirit of the Olympic Games and who can also be keen supporters of other nations´ sportsmen and be happy when seeing outstanding human achievements.

And what about Hungary´s chances? .. I feel for sure that we can be optimistic during the Olympics and we will have great pleasures during the following weeks. I would also be glad if, according to the official announcements, Hungary won five-six gold medals. However, being an optimist and following the daily events, I expect the chances of Olympic medals are better. I would not be surprised and I would consider it a deserved success if the Hungarian kayak-canoe team itself took four-six gold medals. I expect more than one gold medals from our swimmers and we also have our water-polo players, some excellent athletes and many others.

In the points competition of the countries we will surely be in one of the first fifteen places, which is remarkable considering the size of Hungary. It is not usual to proportionate the result to the population of countries but I will do it after the competitions. In the light of this, I can even imagine Hungary´s being in one of the first three places in Sydney! … So all we have to do is to support and encourage our sportsmen because its effect reaching out thousands of kilometres is unquestionable.

Among these lofty thoughts, I do not want to write about the separation of some branches of sport from the obvious values of sport or about taking illegal drugs, which is harmful to health or about constant bureaucratic distortions in connection with the fight against it. However, there could be a lot to write about it as China kept nearly thirty of its sportsmen formerly entered for the Olympics at home because they learned that there will be more developed drug-tests in Australia than it had been expected. My opinion about this topic can be read in one of my previous articles „Endangered sportmen, domineered bureaucrats at the world of sport!”

Finally, I have a comment to make which is not related to the above-mentioned topics but is about us, Hungarians. At the moment of writing, I am watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. It is luxurious and the whole world is celebrating. Today and the following days, Australia seems to wish to show its grandeur. The breathtaking spectacle, moving of the crowd, high-technology could even cost/amount to ten-hundred thousand million dollars. The organisers make almost every kind of information public but they do not reveal the costs of the ceremony. They say ½the world should consider it as Australia´s present½. Nobody is very inquisitive about it just enjoys what he can see. Perhaps nobody asked the organisers about the expenses and they declared the above ½without any questions½. It would be possible if at the competitions only the developed countries´ability of rejoicing was at present. A lot of people – we Hungarians as well- have to learn how to be delighted at beauty while being unworried. Unfortunately, seeing this splendour, in our and most of our journalists´s head the question arises: ½how much did it cost, who supported it, who benefited a lot from them (us)?½ Therefore there were certainly people asking questions and the Australian answer was given for them. … In fact, owing to these differences, the Olympic Games are held in Australia and that is why the plan of the Expo failed in Hungary in 1996!

While they already understand it, we are yet in the period of learning that we have to separate the costs of living our every-day lives and the costs of living a fuller and more superior life.


Budapest, 15 September, 2000

János Palotás