I was among the four billion or so people worldwide who watched the Olympics 2012 on television, albeit in snatches.
While I enjoyed seeing Usain Bolt win gold twice in the 100m and 200m sprint races and Michael Phelps chalk up gold after gold for an Olympic record of 18 gold medals and a total tally of 22 medals, it was the losers who impressed me most.
It was not the gold-winning performances or svelte sculptured bodies, remarkable achievements in themselves but the way they conducted themselves after their races in the true Olympic spirit of sportsmanship often forgotten when the words of the Olympic Oath become a faint echo once the games begin.
I thought how marvelous if only those of us engaged in competitive pursuits whether in business, sport, politics or some other human endeavour, can catch a bit of their altruism and sporting spirit. It is a reflection of the character of a true champion.
And I saw two who personified the true spirit of the Olympics.
Australian sprint cycling ace Anna Meares was a silver medallist in Beijing in 2008, beaten by Great Britain's Victoria Pendelton.
Meares had recovered from a broken neck and was determined to win gold at London 2012. She did it out-cycling Pendleton. She was a worthy winner but it was the loser who won my heart.
The world saw Victoria Pendleton dubbed ‘Queen Victoria' by her countrymen applauding her nemesis while still on her bike and her graciousness in defeat, she told Meares, "You deserve to win, you are a champion," entitles her to the title of the Queen of Hearts. Meares in a later interview spoke of Pendleton's ‘graciousness.'
In another race Australian champion hurdler Sally Pearson, who had clocked the fastest time in a heat, stood in suspense as the crowd waited for the results of the photo-finish, with American rival Dawn Harper standing not far away, in equal suspense.
When the result was broadcast Pearson jumped up in joy and Harper immediately applauded the result and walked over to Pearson and gave her a big hug.
It was another gesture befitting the true spirit of sportsmanship sometimes not seen in the Olympics where winning gold has become the obsession thus relegating the Olympic creed of participation into meaninglessness.
The Olympic creed, adopted by the Father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, which he borrowed from a speech by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot to Olympic champions in 1908, says, "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
Sadly how times have changed.
Today's Olympic Oath while reminding athletes to abide by the Olympic rules also includes a pledge not to cheat and money spent on doping tests could have built hospitals to save lives. An athlete of the host nation recites the oath:
"In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."
Cheating has become the modus operandi of many athletes and over the years some big names have been caught, shamed, and stripped of their medals, though disgraced American sprint queen Marion Jones was the exception and voluntarily confessed her wrongdoing.
Since then she has recanted of her folly and is now an ambassador against the use of drugs and cheating in sport.
In this she is the better golden girl.
Competition without clear rules and fair umpiring is not credible and the world's greatest sporting event would be a sham, so judges play an onerous role and remind themselves by taking their own oath:
"In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them in the true spirit of sportsmanship."
If politics can imitate sport then there is hope.
Even if oaths are broken they establish the ethos and standards of conduct. In such places the rule of law is supreme and there is peace.
Governments change without any untoward incident. They fight another day and hone their skills in opposition. The people benefit even if many suffer from politics indigestion.
Malaysians quibble over the theme for Merdeka but forget Merdeka is the theme. When we lose sight of its authenticity and re-invent the wheel there is disagreement.
But who will disagree about the historic fact of the country's freedom from the colonial yoke? Do we need some other theme to obscure the real thing?
Can ‘freedom' ever be replaced by some other theme no matter how clever, gimmicky or even false?
More importantly, has freedom been attained after 55 years? Is it not still the pre-eminent struggle for many Malaysians who feel they are under a neo-colonial yoke?
And ironically the Malay is the most obligated of all Malaysians, hamstrung by the dictates of race and religion, not free to believe, not free to be, compared to the other races.
I pray GE13 will be conducted in the Merdeka Spirit - the spirit of freedom - as the Olympic Games take place with the idea of participation and in sporting spirit.
Win or lose all must be done in a sporting way and the struggle will be worth it because everyone wins when democracy triumphs because Merdeka was and is all about freedom for every Malaysian.
There is always another Olympic Games and even Olympic silver medalist Lee Chong Wei has set his heart on Rio 2016. There will always be another general election.
So win or lose I hope Malaysia will produce its true political champions who win our hearts by their commitment to and display of the Merdeka spirit of freedom - freedom from fear, freedom from repression and freedom from corruption.