If you ask various Olympians the question, what makes it worth it to sacrifice so much to compete on the main stage in Tokyo? You will immediately get the answer along the lines of, “I get to compete for my country on the largest stage possible”. However… asking the question in a slightly different way, brought up some great insight. What makes the Olympics “Cool”?.  Not being an Olympian myself, I set out to ask the questions to a select few, and see if I found some commonalities. We also visited the Olympic Day Museum in Fourways mall for some clues.


If you would like to rate the effort a country has put into their hosting, you should look no further than the 3 -4 hours opening ceremony of each Olympics. These ceremonies, usually transcends the histories and art of the host country, and in some instances their celebrities too. In 2012 we saw Mr Bean play Chariots of Fire in a way only he can. After the opening acts, each country’s participants receive the opportunity to be announced and walk a lap in front of the world to take their place on the field as the games are officially opened. For athletes this is the defining moment that this is real, and to some they have described it as the best experience of their careers other than winning.


There is nothing more exciting than receiving your National kit. There is also nothing worse than being disappointed. This was the general feeling amongst Olympians. If you think about it, this is a bit of a branding factor. You are officially branded as an Olympian for South Africa and you would like to wear these colors amongst the others in the world without the shame of how it looks.

South Africa has been heavily criticized in the past two games with Erke and 361 delivering kit which was considered tough to look at. In this event you are comparing yourself to others via competing, therefore you are also comparing yourself to what they are wearing too. When the kit gets messy and all over the place, it loses the uniformity it requires and leads to disappointment.

None the less, whichever kit it may be, it seems that the general feedback is that it is still worth it. Here is the 2021 Tokyo Republic of South Africa Kit. Would you say it is up to par?

Images: Mr Price Sport – Tim Lubbe 


If competing in the games wasn’t great enough, the athletes can now award themselves with a neat OLY tag behind their names. For new athletes gaining the privilege to utilize this OLY is a neat addition to competing and adds credibility to their post athletic careers. The WOA believes the Olympic Games is similar to studying for a PhD, and that athletes should be recognized for their sacrifices. Patrick Singleton a treasurer of the World Olympians Association WOA, hopes his idea of giving Olympians a chance to award themselves by putting OLY after their name will help their post-athletic careers. The honour is available to the 100K+  living Olympians after the World Olympians Association launched the initiative.


Athletes will always remember the villages. For most this becomes your home for little under 3 weeks, and you get to share it with all the best athletes in the world. South African Athletes mentioned living in the same villages with the likes of Lebron James, Roger Federer, and Usain Bolt. The villages is the central hub where all the athletes from across the world accommodate, train and dine. Worldwide friends have been made and sometimes romances too.

Aerial view of the Olympic Park showing the Olympic and Paralympic Village. Picture taken on 16 April 2012.

5. Olympic Ring TATOOS

We’ve all seen them, the Olympic Ring Tatoo. Being branded an Olympian in the flesh seems as the ultimate to some. I do agree, after all the hard work, what better than a tatoo to mark your achievement forever.


Author: Erwin M. Schmidt Jr.