I’ve got it bad. I always have. I love everything about the Olympics. From the opening ceremony to the in depth look at the unsung heroes and heroines whose journey is revealed as they run, jump, swim, shoot, lift, wrestle, dive etc for that most hallowed of all titles: Olympic Champion!
I’m not only in awe of the gold medalists, but of all the athletes who make the Olympic team. I mean think about it. Let’s take China or the US for example: the competition for just a few spots on each team is ridiculous. The time, the money, the blood, the sweat and the gallons of tears spilled to get to that sacred place is remarkably awesome. It takes more than will and talent, it takes a parent who is willing to go all the way and a village to back them.
Some athletes ride the glory wave all the way to their event and when that moment of truth comes, they choke, leaving the door open for the ones who have been lurking in their shadows to truly shine because they not only have the talent and determination but they have the poise and the nerves of steel to hold it all together to give the performance of their lives. Amazing.
I cannot imagine the pressure those kids are under. The agony of defeat before the entire world can never be erased. But the glory of the gold, that ultimate high of knowing you are the best in the world in your event: nirvana. That is something that will go down in the annals of Olympic history. The hard work that got you there and the pride of your accomplishment will sustain you for the rest of your life.
Winning one gold medal is an achievement in itself but two, three, four or eighteen? My God, how often does an athlete like Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz come along? Once in a lifetime? In my case two. How many perfect performances do we see? Nadia Comaneci, that 13 year old little girl from Romania who captured our hearts in Montreal so many years ago, whose performance on the uneven bars was a stop-in-time moment for her, her nation and the world. I still remember that perfect performance and the elation I felt (yes, even as young as I was, I was glued to the television during Olympic time). The world stood still in shock and in awe and then we all cheered like mad for her. Years later she would defect to the US and marry US gymnast Bart Connor. J I knew I liked that girl for a reason!
It’s moments like that, the overcoming the adversity that draws me to the Olympics every time. While I cheer my country, I also cheer for athletes from other countries. As hard as it is for an American to make the US Olympic team, for other nations it’s virtually impossible.
The Olympics always reminds me how lucky I am to live in this great nation and that I should never take my freedoms for granted. Especially when I hear about teams disappearing from the Olympic village to seek asylum from the country they are representing.
Are you an Olympic addict like me? If not, do you watch at all? What is your favorite event or who is your favorite athlete?