Did wokeism cost the U.S. Olympic medals? Of course not.


Many conservatives I know and respect declined to watch any of this year’s Summer Olympics because they expected American athletes to display wokeism rather than patriotism. The expectation wasn’t unreasonable and it constituted good cause not to watch.

It also helps explain the Olympics’ low television ratings. Reportedly, they were down 49 percent compared to the 2016 Games and 53 percent from the ones in 2012.

I decided to watch the swimming and, after those events featured no wokery, to try the track competition. Had I seen any athlete disrespect America or otherwise present a leftist political message, that would have been the end of my engagement. But I didn’t see any of this.

No conservative I know objected to the Olympics because he or she thought the U.S. would lose medals (gold or otherwise) due to wokery. That would be an untenable view.

There’s no relationship between an athlete’s political views and his or her performance. Ultra-woke Woke Megan Rapinoe is one the best female soccer players ever and was the star of several world championship teams. Lebron James threatens cops and kowtows to China, but this didn’t prevent him from being the best basketball player of his generation, a four-time NBA champion, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post found several instances in which conservatives seemed to attribute U.S. failures at the Olympics to wokery. For example, Greg Gutfield said of the U.S. women’s soccer team:

First they kneel then got blown out on the field. Yes, sadly when it was time to get physical, their only points were political.

Gutfield is a funny, intelligent guy. I assume this statement was more of a taunt than an attempt at sports analysis.

Tammy Bruce asked:

Could [the] shift in attitude and a shift away from national pride be present in Team USA’s stumbling start at the Olympic Games?

Having seen no evidence that national pride was lacking in our athletes (and plenty of indications to the contrary), I dispute the first premise of this question. I also dispute the second. Blake shows that, on balance, there was no real stumbling by Team USA in the end.

Tomi Lahren stated:

Apparently, the popularized and glorified culture of ‘woke-ism’ and victimhood may not be beneficial to the athletic prowess and performance of our USA athletes.

But there was no lack of prowess and performance by our athletes as a group, nor any sign that they have been affected by the culture of wokeism and victimhood. It demeans all the hard work they put in, and during a pandemic no less, to suggest that the culture has made them soft.

Finally, there was Donald Trump, who has feuded with Rapinoe, saying:

Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has.

I hope this was just a taunt. If not, his statement is stupid.

As shown above, being a woke athlete does not entail losing, and there is no evidence that wokery had anything to do with the results of the U.S. women’s soccer team. Indeed, Blake points out that the Canadian women’s soccer team that beat the U.S. and won the gold medal is, if anything, more openly woke than its U.S. counterpart.

I’m all in favor of attacking wokeism. But the attacks should be informed and intelligent. Otherwise, they can be demolished by leftists like Blake — not that any demolition is really required when the attacks are this silly.



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