Rory McIlroy chose to stay home from competing in the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics due to a rising concern about the Zika virus (and also, his opinion that Olympic golf didn’t matter), but the whole decision on whether or not to go compete seemed to be a bit more of an internal debate than initially known.
McIlroy says if he had gone to compete in the Olympics, the decision on whether to compete representing Ireland or Great Britain would have been difficult to choose between, and he isn’t happy he would have had to make a decision.
“Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to (upset) the most?” McIlroy said. “I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That’s my feelings toward it. And whether that’s right or wrong, that’s how I feel.”
The Olympics aren’t exactly school yard football with an all-time QB. McIlroy couldn’t compete for two nations, so he had to choose a nation to represent if he went to compete in the games. This is a slight issue many athletes competing in the summer and winter games have to decide, and sometimes some athletes take advantage of dual-citizenship in order to have an easier time reaching the games by representing a country in need of a boost in a particular sport.
But for McIlroy, that would have been no easy decision, perhaps not because he is emotionally attached to both nations, but more because he doesn’t exactly feel that strong of a bond to either.
“[If] I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'” McIlroy told the Sunday Independent in Ireland. “I don’t know the words to either anthem. I don’t feel a connection to either flag. I don’t want it to be about flags. I’ve tried to stay away from that.”
But this isn’t another major golf tournament. This is the Olympics. This one is always all about the flags.