When more is less- Body Language of Tokyo Olympics
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” What do the above pictures from the recent Tokyo Olympics tell you? Observe very carefully, before continuing to read. To make it simpler for you try and see who looks the happiest and who looks the saddest. Technically the sequence should be gold medallist happiest followed by silver and finally the bronze winner. But as observed in the above images the happiest one is the gold winner followed by the bronze winner and the silver medallist doesn’t look happy at all”
Silver medallist – Win or loss
Researchers have observed the emotional reactions of Olympic winners over years and have got the same results. This phenomena is called as “Counterfactual thinking,” the way people respond to events is influenced by their thoughts about “what might have been.” Specific to silver medallist this means losing out on gold medal making them less happy then bronze who at least got a medal.
Observing the body language of the silver medallist we can see that in the first image the silver medallist is giving a social smile, holding the bouquet firmly right in front of him as if creating a shield to hide himself and in the second image the person is not even smiling just looking at the gold medallist thinking it could have been him there. Deciphering body language is important as that reveals much more that what’s on surface.
Here is another such example where in the silver medallist is very sad. Ravi Kumar was a strong contender for gold at this Tokyo Olympics but he won a silver. He has apologised many times to the country for losing out on gold. Even in this image he is clearly sad when looking at the medal with his brows in knit. Body language is important in understanding the emotions that people experience post a match.
Highlights of Olympics
The recent Tokyo Olympics was different in many ways. Following are some of the highlights
Initially players wore a mask at the podium which later was removed. But even with the mask we can see the apparent disappointment of the silver medallist. He is trying to hide his neck slightly, he is slouching, his feet is indicating he wants to leave and there is no happiness at all. Thus reading body language is important as that you would help you to understand your counterpart who could be anyone right from your colleague to your friend or family.
Power of body language
Players protesting at Olympics is not new. There have been times when Olympic players refused to go back to their countries due to lack of resources or opportunities or due to disparity or discrimination. But in this Tokyo Olympics one of the players risked losing her medal by protesting at the podium. It’s a powerful nonverbal message which the athlete gave without saying anything asking for equality. That’s how important is body language as
without saying anything you are creating a huge impact.
Role of Emotions
There are numerous examples of people showing extreme emotions in Olympics over a win or a loss. So even in the recent one at Tokyo we saw some examples let’s decipher them with a body language perspective.
Anger in check
When world no. 1 of tennis Novak Djokovic lost the bronze match against Pablo Carreno Busta at Tokyo Olympics he had, what everyone is calling as “Olympic outburst.” This action was not appreciated by many including other top tennis players. Anger in body language is associated with a clenched fist and jaw, intense furrowed brows, and reddened skin. If the anger rises further, it leads to going after the target and physically doing something to it. So next time try and observe how your body reacts to different emotions. Also observe
how others react when they are angry and tweak your conversations accordingly, that’s how important body language is.
As usual Novak broke the racket, he is well known for smashing his racquet after losing games. The most famous one been when he hit lineman leading him to disqualify. What we need focus is anger is an emotion that we all experience but we have to be aware of how body language reacts when we are angry or what situations lead to anger. Once we are aware of what causes anger we would be able to manage the situation and our anger better.
Novak Djokovic smashes racket and throws another into stands
Happiness knows no bound
Now let’s take another example of another extreme emotion happiness. When
two friends win an Olympic gold together their happiness knows no bounds. That’s what happened with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar. In the high jump race when Tamberi and Barshim tied at the first place, they were asked to settle things mutually and they came with a solution which have seldom happened at Olympics. So both the winners got a gold, the image tells how happy they are in a tight embrace showing their affection for each other.
Thus, body language plays an important role in every facet in lives. Even in sports, body language plays an essential role in understanding what the athletes are thinking and feeling. Our body language communicates strongly which may or may not match with the words. Thus observation is the key