Brazil VS the US: who's better at sports?
Updated: Mar 13
It can be a little frustrating for Brazilian sports fans to watch the Olympics and see countries like the US and the UK always dominating the podiums. Even though 2021 was our best year in the Olympic Games so far, Brazil still placed 12th in the total medals ranking; while the United States placed 1st. The main reason as to why this happens and why the US performs greatly every year is because there is a greater investment in sports in general in America than there is in Brazil. Thus, the athletes are not only given a space to practice, but are also incentivized by their own country to keep training and pursuing their dreams.
In the United States, sports can be a pathway in helping children to get into college. By granting scholarships based on athletic skills, lots of teenagers who are passionate about a certain sport or depend on the practice of a physical activity to balance their school life are given a chance to graduate while still doing what they love. This already shows a bigger preoccupation with sports investments, as funding these programs definitely helps the young athletes to develop in their area and become the best version of themselves. In Brazil, however, sports are considered mainly a form of recreation, and it's rare (and also considered risky) to see kids who are willing to dedicate their lives into becoming professional athletes. Although we do have universities for free, unlike the US, they are harder to get into and competition is fiercer; therefore, it's possible to assume that if sports scholarships were implemented here, lots of kids - who can't afford the education to get them into public universities or the tuition of private universities - would have the opportunity to seek a college degree.
It is also important to notice how the countries' cultures are different when it comes to sport. Brazil consecrated itself as the soccer country, while the US doesn't really have one specific sport that they are known for. Despite its big tournaments and hegemony in basketball, baseball, and football, the American colleges offer a much larger range of sports to be played during college years. This fact both boosts the diversity among kids (not limiting their options to only one well-known sport) and sees the kids who have aptitude for other sports. In Brazil, because soccer is the main sport, and pretty much the only to receive a considerable investment, children who aren't exactly good at it or just simply prefer other sports often feel excluded. Moreover, if a wider range of possibilities were offered and supported by the country, we could be able to expand our hegemony to other modalities, increasing our preeminence in other sports. As seen in this year's Olympics - where we had our greatest performances so far, conquering 21 medals - Brazilian athletes have a lot of potential and, if they got where they did with the little investment directed to their modalities, imagine how far we could go if it was a significant amount.
Some of Brazil's medalists (Daniel Alves, the women's volleyball team, Ana Marcela and Rayssa Leal).
Another important role that sports can play in a nation is the fact that it brings unity. Having hundreds of national athletes competing to win tournaments and represent your country is something that brings people together, since it creates a sense of togetherness and belonging. This feeling is very much present and "visible" during the World Cup season, where all Brazilians come together, put their differences aside, and cheer for one common goal: to win the world wide soccer championship. Then, it's possible to assume that by increasing the investments in sports, a new culture of unity could very much be created in Brazil. In other words, investing more in the sports area can bring various advantages to our country, not only economically or socially, but also culturally.
Therefore, it's visible that a greater investment in sports in general in Brazil would not only help low-income kids gain opportunities through their athletic skills, giving them a chance to have a better future, but would also increase Brazil's protagonism in worldwide athletic championships and appreciation for Brazilian athletes, boosting our recognition as a country who worries about the basis of our society - the children. Moreover, it would also create a sense of unity and healthy patriotism among Brazilians and create a whole new culture for our country. Thus, it's possible to affirm that destinating part of the Brazilian government funds to sports might be worth the try after all.