Dimitris Rapidis

European Union of Athletes

In London Olympics the European Union gathered the highest number of metals in total. Even the US and China together could not pass it. Practically this is just a symbolic achievement, but what if we look further to the deepest feelings of those Europeans who still believe in the dream of a true Federation?

Referring to the European Union as a “Nation” is something both the European leaders and the citizens of the Union have long forgotten. The eurocrisis has dwindled whatever the expectations for political, social and economic convergence are, and this is a fact that most of us cannot escape. In nowadays conditions with levels of confidence and decisiveness being roughly underpinned by the blindspot of recession, unemployment, and the regular back-and-forth statements regarding the future of the monetary union and its member-states, such an achievement could be dealt with more attention.

In other words, the European Council could at least release a common statement for endorsing the achievements of their athletes as well as underlining and reminding that European Union can still behave and be represented as a unitary establishment in the global scene, even if this has to do with athletics. It is something weird to say, but we have never indeed looked carefully upon the aggegate metals won by European athletes, being more concerned with what the presence of each country was in the table of metals.

It is additionally re-invogorating the fact that despite US and China being far more populated than EU and supposedly much better organized and prepared to present the best image, the European Union with a population of one third of US and China combined has ended up with more metals and final placements than the other two in total. To my point of view, this very element leads in two fundamental remarks: first that the European Union has invested not in the number of athletes but in their athletic and competitive quality, and second that despite financial problems of the national confederations of most of the metal-contributing countries, like Italy, Spain, and Hungary, the spirit of success and effort still instills the athletes.

It is finally denouncing the fact that in such monumental moments there is no official voice from the European Commission congratulating the athletes. The Commissioner of Sports Mr. Andreas Vassiliou has been absent and I am really wondering whether this is intentional or not. I hope the latter.

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  1. DimitrisDimitris,

    It would be pathetic for the EU to jump on the Olympic bandwagon. You do not hear the British Commonwealth boasting about its tally of 179 medals.

    In any case any comparisons with USA/China would be false as there are 27 EU countries, all who in theory could put forward competitors for each event. You have to say to yourself how many medals would the EU have won if they only had one crack at it instead of 27. I like your attempt to massage the population figures. Fact EU 503 million, USA 311. The population really doesn’t matter as it all depends on the investment from National Governments. If that was not the case how do explain the poor performance of India, the worlds second most populous country?

    Dimitris, no matter how hard the EU tries you cannot manufacture loyalty and love for a state where they are trying to draw from people with such diverse beliefs, culture and language.

    The project I regret to say was badly conceived and is doomed in its current form.

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