The Olympics is underway and for a few days, you will hear many new names, and you will read about many new sports. And while this happens, you will celebrate the victories of Indian athletes, as we all should. However, in this process, don't forget to introspect. 

There are a lot of reasons that make so many of us hypocrites as sports watchers. Here are 8 of them.

1. Being racist towards people from the Northeast and subjecting them to harassment.


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Enjoying the second-hand feeling of success on the athletes' account.

Almost everyone who comes from the Northeast to work/study/settle in the other parts of the country faces racism. Sometimes, it's a "joke" where people ask them if they are even from India. On other occasions, the women are asked what's their "rate". 

The support for them is minimal, but as soon as an athlete from the Northeastern part of the country wins a medal, everyone wants to join the party. 

2. Saying that women belong in the kitchen, not giving them equal rights.

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Calling them “India’s daughter” when they go on to achieve something big.  

It's no hidden fact that women are unsafe in the country, they are not given basic respect in a lot of cases and sometimes, are denied a chance at life right at birth.

But damn, does everyone rush to call them "Indian's daughters" the moment they shine?! I must mention here that the usage of the word "daughters" in this context is offensive in itself. Can we please look at women beyond familial roles? (Here's an insightful write-up on the same by Ravish Kumar).

women missing in India
Source: The Week

3. Continuous discrimination against the Dalit community in the country.

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Conveniently forgetting their struggles when they win a medal.

There are people from the Dalit community who are killed in broad daylight for entering a temple, or made to shave off their mustache because that's apparently something only the upper caste men can do.

When it comes to medals, though, all of this is forgotten, the struggles are sidelined, and all the country sees is the medal.

4. Doing nothing to support athletes struggling with financial issues.

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Calling them "heroes" when they qualify for/win at an event.

There is a long list of athletes who represented the country once and are now working day and night to make ends meet. Similarly, many overcome extreme financial struggles to get to the top. 

We read about these people in the news, what do we do about it? 

athletes who faced poverty
Source: The Indian Express

5. Paying little to no attention to sports other than cricket and football.

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Generating a sudden and temporary interest in other events following a podium finish. 

We love cricket and that's okay. We love to see football and that's okay too. What's not okay is not tuning into other sports to support our athletes who are working so hard to win. What's even worse is celebrating them for 2 days after their victory, and forgetting everything from that point on.

viewership of cricket vs other sports
Source: Business Standard

6. Making sports the least of priorities at school. 


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Expecting medals at the Olympics.

For a country that treats sports as an 'unnecessary distraction', it's actually a miracle we get the number of medals we do. And the credit for that goes to athletes and their family/team supporting them because our upbringing and education don't help much.

7. Dedicating minimal infrastructure for the development of sports.

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Getting pissed off when athletes don’t win anything at the medals.

On similar lines, the infrastructure for sports is so limiting in India, that anyone who wants to pursue unconventional sports (or sometimes even conventional), has to struggle to find a space to practice, that is if they can arrange for shoes and a kit. 

This is only made worse by the miuse of power.

8. Big companies not doing even the bare minimum to promote athletes. 


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Cashing in on their victory and fame during the Olympics. 

And finally, multinational companies cashing in on the success of an athlete when they have done nothing to help them in past. When they could have EASILY done something to help them in the past. 

All in all, we have a long way to go before we can say we deserve our athletes and the fruits of their labour.