I heart the Olympics! 

Seriously, is there anything better than watching amazing international competition between the best of the best?  Also, is there any catchier theme song than the Olympic song?  Think about it….now you’ll be humming it in your head for the rest of the day.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit surprised by how much Olympic watching I’ve participated in thus far.  I hardly watched the Sydney or Athens games; in fact the only thing I can remember from them was hearing about some kid named Michael Phelps who was over to take over the world by swimming.  And I think its safe to say that he has.  (How awesome was that relay?!  Take that France!)

Last night Stephen and I stayed up way too late watching the US woman’s gymnastics team along with more Michael Phelps domination and a little synchronized diving.  Even though we lost the gold medal to China, watching the gymnastics competition brought a lot of things to my mind.  The first is that I am extraordinarily out of shape and inflexible (not that I could have ever done anything more than a cartwheel at my prime fitness level), but I also wondered what I could potentially acomplished if I had even half of the dedication and discipline these young girls have.  I am by no means old, but watching girls 10 years younger than you accomplishing such great things can make you feel a little lazy.  Especially if you already feel a little lazy.  

Watching gymnastics last night also brought back memories of watching gymnastics when I was younger.  Like most young girls, anytime it was an Olympic year I would have dreams and fantasies of being an Olympic gymnast (despite the fact that I had never taken a gymnastics class in my life) and then two years later I would switch my mythical aspirations to ice skating (I DID take six weeks of ice skating lessons in fifth grade, but then I had hip surgery which I like to think is the main reason for my lack of an Olympic career). 

My most vivid Olympic gymnastic memory was when the games were played in my own back yard of Atlanta.  I remember that the night of the infamous “Magnificent 7” woman’s US team competition I was spending the night at my friend Melissa’s house with my other friend Kate.  We stayed up late with her mom and little sister Jill watching girls very close to our age compete neck and neck to win the gold over Russia.  The competition culminated with the nerve-wracking vault by Kerri Strug that caused the US to win the gold.  (Which by the way I just learned thanks to Wikipedia was the first time the US had won the gold in woman’s team gymnastics.)  Watching that vault brings me back to the summer of 1996 when I was 14, yelling and cheering at the TV in Melissa’s living room. 

To me, moments like that are what the Olympics are all about. 

Looking back on it now, I wish I had paid more attention and taken advantage more of when the Olympics were in Atlanta.  I went to only one event, woman’s softball where it was USA vs China.  It wasn’t the finals, but it turned out to be the final match-up for the gold (USA won of course).   It was a fun experience cheering for your country instead of a particular team.  My one regret is that the event took place outside of downtown, and therefore I didn’t get to experience the hub of where everything was happening or see the torch ‘live’.  (Did anyone else think our torch looked like the packaging for McDonalds french fries?) 

      

Then again when the Olympics occurred in Atlanta I was only 14 so getting to downtown on my own really wasn’t an option. 

Who knows, maybe someday the games will come back to Atlanta and I’ll have another chance.  However, ATL may be blacklisted for creating the worst mascot in Olympic history.  Oh well.

So in conclusion…GO USA!!! 

 

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