Mexico is not an Olympic power far from it. On the contrary, if something can perhaps be recognized in the socialist regimes, it is that their commitment to sport was very successful: there they were, a few decades ago, the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic. And there it is, at this moment still, Cuba itself, despite all the regrets.
It was a propaganda issue, of course, and in the times of the Cold War the sporting competition between the communist bloc and the Western powers was intended to duly underpin the strength of some systems that were no longer confronting each other in the field of ideologies – or, worse still, on the battlefield and with the atomic arsenal behind it — but on the athletic tracks and basketball courts.
We are also talking about public policies aimed at ensuring the well-being of the population through sports and, as regards competitions, early detection of talents, solid support for selected athletes and absolute professionalism in all the stages of preparation to participate in the great world sporting events. The gymnast, the boxer or the long-distance runner were assured of the best conditions to succeed even if they openly expressed their adherence to the regime, although later it happened that the participants sent by the communist nations fled upon reaching the territories of freedom and requested the corresponding political asylum. Sometimes, the official propaganda ends up not resisting the onslaught of reality, look at you.
Sport, in the countries of the democratic West, is also a matter of prestige and that is why the United Kingdom, France and the United States, among many others, promote their athletes. Being a good competitor assures you generous scholarships in the universities of our neighboring country and also allows you to have the best coaches, the best preparation and the best support.
Returning to the case of Mexico, one of the great ills that our country suffers is the lack of continuity. The rulers, in these payments, try to reinvent the world from its origins as soon as they settle into the seat of power. The guiding principle that moves them is not to recognize any achievement of their predecessors and, in the nefarious Adamism they practice (the term comes precisely from Adam, the first of men and refers to the impulse to start everything from scratch), what the only thing they do is destroy what little good they have inherited. Of course, they leave their personal stamp well marked because that is what it is about, to be protagonists.
Anyway, what we will see in the current Tokyo Olympic Games is more of the same: some medals, mainly due to the enormous efforts of competitors determined to overcome the usual adversities, and little else. Or, can we hope for football?
Roman Revueltas Retes