Learning from the South American Games

Published in El Pais, 2 June 2018.

Like so many people who live in Cochabamba, Bolivia, last week I went to see various competitions of the XI South American Games with my family. Bolivia has done very well so far, with medals in swimming, basketball, karate and cycling, and there is still a week to go. I was enthusiastic about the dedication and enthusiasm of all the athletes. Needless to say, that we enjoy a lot of these games.

Something that impressed me is how much the athletes must sacrifice to reach the level where they are. Not everyone has economic support from their country, not everyone has sponsors and not everyone has a personal coach who keeps track of their training, food and rest. They must train many hours a day and finance their championships, their uniforms themselves. This year you could hear and read many of these stories in the media.

Another aspect of these Olympics is that they show that there are many more sports than just football. Football is good, but when we turn on the TV or radio, we only hear news reports about this sport and not about the rest of the disciplines. When I see the games of these games I enjoy the many other sports and realize that we have a blind spot and that we often forget the other sports.

Maybe you do not realize it, but we have a blind spot for various reasons. When we go shopping, we always buy what we know and what we have always bought. Changing to a different product is frightening and that’s why our subconscious directs us to the product that we know best. When we go to a party, we always look for the place with people we know, and we sit next to them to chat. Or when we eat in a restaurant, many go to the place they know and ask for the same dish.

There is so much money put into football in the world that I think we now have to finance other sports (swimming, basketball, etc.). I have personally seen how people queue for other sports and at these South American Games it has been shown that many people also love other sports and that there is a great demand for it. Hopefully the government and companies will support these athletes more so that we can keep enjoying these other sports more and more.


About Arnold Hagens 224 Articles
Arnold Hagens is Economist with strong interest in technology, health and coaching

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