If you’ve been reading my “week in woke posts you’ll know that a number of American right-wingers rooted against American athletes at the Olympics — because the athletes representing the US were supposedly too “woke” for their own good, more concerned with political correctness than with patriotism.
Some of these right-wingers took it another step, going on to argue that all this “wokeness” was actually causing individual athletes and teams to fail. Donald Trump endorsed this bit of magical thinking in a statement he put out after the American women’s soccer team picked up an uninspiring bronze medal instead of the gold one that had generally been expected.
“Woke means you lose,” Trump declared,
everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has. …
They should replace the wokesters with Patriots and start winning again.
But there are a couple of little problem with this, er, hypothesis: first, it’s utterly illogical, in that “wokeness” has no effect on performance, and second, it’s not true, at least when it comes to the performance of American athletes in the Tokyo Olympics.
True, the “woke” American women’s soccer team did a bit worse than expected, but, as Aaron Blake notes in the Washington Post, most of America’s supposedly too-woke-to-perform athletes actually did fine.
Sure, he points out, early losses by America’s Women’s soccer team and men’s basketball team seemed to provide evidence for the “get woke, go broke” narrative.
The culprit was quickly identified: The athletes were too focused on being “woke” and not focused enough on winning. Maybe if they would just “shut up and dribble,” the United States would win more medals. For most of the Olympics, the United States trailed in gold medals behind China, of all places.
Well, guess what: some of the most-criticized “wokesters” ended up at the top of the podium.
[D]espite their early stumble against France, the men’s basketball team wound up winning gold. Ditto the women’s basketball team, whose players and professional league have been more socially progressive than in any other major American sport.
And even the Women’s soccer team contributed a medal to the Americans’ collection.
If you look at the big picture, Blake points out, America’s team didn’t do too poorly at all. For one thing, they won the medal count.
With the Olympics over, the final results are in. And the argument, to the extent it should have been taken seriously in the first place, isn’t really that compelling.
The U.S. team has won the most medals at every Summer Olympics since 1992, and it did so again in this one, taking home 113. …
It wound up eventually edging out China on gold medals, too, 39 to 38.
As for women’s soccer, the irony is that the team that did win the gold — Canada — was, well, basically more “woke” then the team with the bronze. As Blake notes, the Canadian team
also knelt in support of racial-justice protests, and it was a focal point because one player was the first openly transgender athlete to medal at an Olympics. The team also … wore pro-transgender-rights armbands in scrimmages.
Wokesters 1, “Patriots” 0.
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