Are Olympic ingrates strictly an American thing?

Olympic participants dishonoring their own flag and anthem – does anyone else do this besides American ingrates? Op-ed.

Jack Engelhard ,

אולימפיאדה בצל הקורונה. טוקיו, TOKYO
אולימפיאדה בצל הקורונה. טוקיו, TOKYO
צילום: reuters

The story, from Google, begins like this: “Gwen Berry, who specializes in the hammer throw, protested the anthem last Saturday as she accepted bronze at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. During the event, held in Eugene, Oregon, Berry turned her back to the flag and draped a T-shirt over her head that read, “’Activist Athlete.’”

We say “begins” because we do not know how it will end for the Tokyo Olympics, which get underway July 23.

At that time, and for weeks thereafter, the whole world will be watching. Who will be the first to win the gold? Who will be the first to snub flag and anthem?

We do not know for sure about the gold. But as for snubbing the anthem, the smart money says USA.

Maybe it will be Gwen Berry all over again, if she gets that far against tougher competition. Or maybe it will be a repeat of the black power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Or maybe it will be the USA’s women’s soccer team, where a few of them, at a warm-up against Mexico, July 5, seemed to act petulantly at the playing of the anthem.

Or maybe not.

They just wanted the game to begin and had no patience for ceremonies, and for that reason the few, or many, of them, if you ask me, acted without due respect…slouching instead of standing tall and proud. Frankly, they looked put-upon and miserable, as if celebrating America was too much of a chore.

Maybe they were just bored. America, you know, big deal.

It is an attitude, some might say, that comes when people have it too good, too easy, and so get too jaded, too spoiled.

Otherwise, pride in the country you represent is taken to be automatic. It is the same all over. The Israelis, for example, differ heatedly on politics, but count on them to put all that aside hoisting the Star of David. Yes, the “Palestinians” will also be there, and have been there, at all the Olympics since 1996, even though they are not a nation. But they do get around.

Never to forget, however, the 1972 Munich Olympics, where 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists…aka, the Munich Massacre.

Back in the USA, well, not exactly, so far as pride for country. Ingratitude appears to have replaced patriotism.

Going public to the world with family gossip is less than protesting, and more like snotty talebearing.

“Activist Athlete” at the Olympics is a contradiction in terms, and ordinarily strangers do not want to know your troubles but griping is all we do these days, home and abroad.

For certain, most USA Olympians in Tokyo will do fine as patriotic ambassadors, but then, what about those who can’t resist dishing the dirt from back home?

They will have an entire world to hear their grievances, as “activist athletes,” and the question is… is this an American thing?

Seems so.

Apparently, for public events, such as the Olympics, only Americans have complaints, which they are eager to share, to bring attention to surely a just cause.

At least for that individual or team.

You would think that America, the place millions run to for freedom and opportunity, is the only nation on earth that suffers from imperfections.

You would think that the rest of the world is perfect.

That’s because for the rest of the world, flag and anthem are sacred. That goes even for countries where seldom is there freedom or opportunity.

But watch them as they clasp hands and sing their hearts out for their own anthems. Lower Slobbovia ain’t much, they could be thinking…but it is home.

What then, about this land of plenty, this land that so many love…but still, somehow, produces so many ingrates?

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Website: