Can Trumpists still believe in ‘America First’ if they root against America in the Olympics? Yes, apparently.
The US team had a rough start in the opening week of the Tokyo Olympics. For the first time in 50 years, not a single US athlete won a gold medal on day one of the Summer Games.
So who was kicking our butts? That’s right, Asia.
Eleven gold medals were handed out Saturday, with the first being won by Yang Qian from China for the 10-meter air rifle competition. She bested Mary Tucker, the American ranked second in the world, who ended up placing sixth. American Eli Dershwitz lost the bronze to Kim Jung-hwan of South Korea for saber despite also being No. 2 in the world.
Cockburn’s European cousins have been relaying their shock that the country which accounts for 13 percent of the world’s obese population would be so miserable at athletics. The empire is plump and tired, friends. Even the US men’s basketball team lost for the first time in nearly two decades against the French. The French. Come on.
For America-loving conservatives though, watching woke US athletes like Megan Rapinoe fail must be a source of mixed emotions. The US women’s soccer team made a not-so-unfamiliar spectacle by kneeling during the national anthem in Tokyo. They went on to lose their match 3-0 against Sweden. Former president Donald Trump, needless to say, did not pull any punches.
‘Wokeism makes you lose,’ Trump said during a Turning Point USA ‘Protect Our Elections Rally’ on Saturday night. ‘The US women’s soccer team is a very good example of what’s going on.’ Trump then shook his head and smirked as the crowd responded with boos.
‘Earlier this week, they unexpectedly lost to Sweden three to nothing, and Americans were happy about it,’ Trump continued as his crowd cheered. ‘You proved that point before I even said it.’
Rapinoe in particular is known for her combative relationship with Trump. In 2019 she called herself a ‘walking protest’ to his policies. More recently she was announced as the new star for Victoria’s Secret lingerie’s diversity PR campaign, along with six other female athletes and some trans and plus-size women. Cockburn is picturing Joe from Ohio sitting in his recliner with a can Busch Light, trying to find the inspiration to cheer on a lady soccer player with a name he can barely pronounce who just refused to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner.
Thankfully American swimmers have been on an Olympic tear so far. On Saturday, they picked up six of the 12 available medals, setting a new record. They also have been one of the first groups of American athletes to demonstrate genuine national pride. At one point before the competition, members of Team USA Swimming gathered in a circle and sang ‘America the Beautiful’ and chanted, ‘USA! USA! USA!’
If there is any lesson to learn from America’s underperformance at the Olympics, it’s this: those who have to rely on political theatrics and media stardom instead of athletic skill tend to fail. In the meantime, foreign competitors from far more authoritarian lands put their heads down and win. Cockburn’s putting the politics to one side for these games: instead he’s pulling for German relay runner Alica Schmidt and the Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers. Up to you if you want to try and work out why.
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