Seeing that massive letdown burst our collective bubbles in such a way we forgot our own, implicit roles in the pageantry. The audience built her up, and up, and up, and when she fell expected her to do so with a cheery smile and grace. Not very fair.
Let us go back to watching the games and realize the stories of compassion and heart-of-gold athletes happen just like they do in every day life: rarely. And just like in real life, they are to be celebrated when they do.
There is also something to be said in all of this for not taking oneself too seriously. When sports are played the way we think the Olympics should be — with humility and passion — they are conduits to physical and emotional personal development. And the people who exhibit those qualities don’t always make it to the medal podium. We should stop trying to stamp their labels on those who do by virtue of their success.