No matter if you like to look at the Olympics as the opportunity for great individual achievement--it's certainly that--at their core, the Olympics are about nation versus nation.
If not, then why the national anthems played for the winners? Why the parade of nations? Why the medals tally?
Of course national pride is on the line.
When one goes to an NBA or NFL game, one doesn't go to watch great individual achievement, although that often happens. One goes to support one's team. In the Olympics, one's team is that team which represents one's country.
That great individual sports achievement occurs and sometimes transcends such support is what often makes the Olympics a thing of beauty. I might have gone to watch the Utah Jazz play the Chicago Bulls, but the fact that Michael Jordan scored 45 points was not lost on me. At the core though, it was about the Jazz winning even when MJ was at his best.
The same goes for the Olympics. I want the Americans to win against the best the world has to offer.