Why I Love the Olympics

Truth be told, I’m not much of a sports fan.  I find that funny because I loved sports as a kid, defined myself as a bit of a jock even.  However, I loved playing them and never really watching them.  The fun was in the participation.  So, you won’t see me watching the superbowl much or talking about my favorite football team.  Being of the lady kind, I’ve never played football and had no desire to break new ground in my county by becoming some kind of Quarterback Princess.  I’m not much into baseball either.  I can’t tell you who plays for what team, nor do I care all that much.  But, I do like to go to a stadium from time to time.  I like the atmosphere and the sunshine and the Americanness of it all and even the beer.

 

All of that indifference for sports changes when two things happen:

 

World Cup Soccer

 

and

 

The Summer Olympics

 

I can’t get enough of those two things.  I love the internationalness of the two events.  I love the drama.  And, OH, with the Olympics there’s always such drama.

 

There was that gymnast who was a bit old – being in her 20’s and all – that no one wanted to sponsor her Olympic dreams.  But, she didn’t care.  It was her dream.  So, she ate nothing, but powerbars and trained all day anyway.  Until, Pamela Anderson stepped in and sponsored her.  Pamela Feckin’ Anderson!

 

There’s always some story or other about a runner or a cycler who fell off a mountain and after years of rehab and being told they’d never play their sport again – THEY MAKE A COMEBACK.  They transcend.  They win.  They cry.  We cry.  Their country cries.  It’s awesome.

 

There are controversial moments like when Mary Decker was to run her last Olympics and got cut off on the track by the bare footed Zola Budd, falling, and in an instant having all of her training and dreams and hard work, crushed.

 

Mary Decker and Zola Budd, the bitch-fight of the track world.

 

There was the women’s first marathon run in Los Angeles in 1984 and won like a breeze by Joan Benoit.  Meanwhile, we watched Swiss runner, Gabriela Schiess, practically collapsing during her final laps due to extreme exhaustion and dehydration.  Everyone wanting to help her, but no one wanting to touch her as she’d be disqualified.  I defy you to watch this video without tearing up.

 

 

The black power fists / human rights salute raised during the Olympics of ’68 — basically saying, “We’ll run for America, but America had better start working for us, along with the rest of the world.”

 

Read more about, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, here.

 

One of the most remembered medal ceremonies of all time.

 

There was the apple-pie-faced, little, ball of steel, Mary Lou Retton bounding here and there and wiping up the gymnastics arena with gold.  There was Nadia Comaneci before that, the first, female, gymnast to score a perfect 10, showing the world what communist discipline combined with grace can produce.

 

 

There was that moment when Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board, Seoul Olympics ’88, and the world wondered if the pool was filled with AIDS.  Literally.

 

 

I mean, you can’t get much more excitement then if you combined a telenovela and a life or death war.

 

This year, it all happens in London – one of the most exciting cities in the world.

 

The opening ceremonies directed by Danny Boyle.  So, I’m tingling in my naughty parts just thinking about it and hoping to see a lot of — this:

 

Will there be an awesomely Slumdog-errific opening ceremony? I certainly hope so.

 

I’ll be watching every main event while I enjoy the coolness of the late summer, my outside deck, and a nice beverage with friends.  When the Americans are out, I’ll cheer for whoever has the next best story.  You can’t help it, there’s not better human story than giving it everything you have – knowing there may be no other chance, ever, in your lifetime.

 

If that’s not human, I don’t know what is.

 

Let the games begin.

 

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Will you be watching?  I know I will.  If so, what’s your favorite event?

 

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Sweet Mother is updated almost daily.  Click the “follow” button to subscribe.

 

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Photo credits:  slumdog, greg, nadia, marylou, marydecker, tommiesmith

 

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31 thoughts on “Why I Love the Olympics

  1. I’ve never been one to watch sports — didn’t grow up in a household where sports dictated our channel-watching, but I’ve known plenty of sports fans and the camaraderie, the excitement and the pulling for someone (and yes, those ones that beat the odds that you mentioned in your fantastic post) bring the best out in all of us. Hubby loves to watch the olympics so I’ll watch some as well. To me, it’s more about everyone getting together and watching the magic of all those gifted individuals. That’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? You’ve described it brilliantly here and I’ll raise a glass to your sentiment of “Let the Games Begin!”

    1. i can’t wait for some reason. i get really excited about this and the world cup. i truly do. the olympics is even better tho. because no one gets excited about pole vaulting year round or at least most people don’t… but, here you do. and volleyball and gymnastics, etc, etc. i think it’s going to be fun… i’ve always been excited about them, even as a kid. fuuuuun.

  2. Oh the Olympics from the days of yore! You bring back memories. I was a cheerleader in the seventies — oops — I’m that old! The cheerleaders who did the gymnastic flips and such all fancied themselves Nadia Comaneci.

    1. SCB, I’m old too and was a cheerleader, but not like the ones today. I mostly just jumped, flipped, did cartwells, was the top on pyramids, waved my pom-poms around while shouting, Go tigers Go!

    2. i was born in 72 and comaneci is the first female athlete i remember. truly. i suppose it was emblazoned in my brain way back when. i’ve always loved these sort of olympic events and on the women tip — this year (i just read in the times) is the first year the u.s. will send more women than men to the olympics. now, how about that? that’s something, huh? xo, sm

  3. I vividly remember Greg Louganis hitting his head and all the irrational fear. That was a crazy time. People were so freaked out. This post makes me want to watch the Olympics now. I usually don’t.

    1. it’s good fun. i tend to only watch the exciting things though, towards the medal rounds… he, he. but, that’s the fun of it. there’s always something to see… some kid that is faster than imagined, some story about a poor boy with a talent, a girl that devoted her life to the only thing she loved – the shot put, lol, etc, etc. the stuff of pure drama. xo, sm

  4. My previous hair stylist was a young 20-something when the Olympics were in Canada a few years back. She asked me if the Canadians took the idea from us or were they really an international thing?

    Bang. head. here. Except I couldn’t because she was working on my hair. Explaining the “Miracle on Ice” would have been lost on her.

    1. that is absolutely hilarious. i don’t know how someone that mentally challenged doesn’t jam their own scissors into their own eye. seriously. so funny, jm, so funny. i don’t even know how you responded. i might have been shocked silent, for once… lol. xo, sm

  5. Awesome post, Sweet Mother! Ah, the nostalgia…
    I’m Australian. Watching the Olympic swimming is our national religion, and suddenly we are ALL sporting fanatics.

    This year I’m also gunning for Natalie Cook in the beach volleyball!!!

    Don’t you just lurve beach volleyball?! The Olympic Gods were so wise to include this in their events schedule.

    1. i soooooo love the volleyball. and i love to watch the crazy sports the asians excel at sometimes, like badmiton. they are so friggin’ good at it. i’ll watch anything really. it’s people who have devoted their lives to something that really doesn’t pay much, just for the sheer pursuit of it and maybe a moment’s glory. i find it thrilling. completely. i’ll be cheering for that aussie for you. unless michael phelps is swimming. lol. xo, sm

  6. wow so many stories..
    sweet mom the games i follow include Tennis out of my love for Federer, cricket because being an Indian means you cant ignore cricket and world cup football….!! im looking forward to Olympics too… 🙂

    1. i neglected to mention tennis! that is the ONLY other thing i follow, as i do follow that too. mainly wimbledon and the us open, but i will watch the french open too. we love nadal around here. wifesy and i even went to the us open back when i was living in ny, it was great fun. cricket i have TRIED to watch, it seems it would be similar to baseball, but try as i might i do NOT know what in the hell is going on. i do like their outfits thought. 😉 xo, sm

  7. I’m hoping to interest my son in the Summer Olympics. It would be a nice change from Elmo’s World although Elmo is a mean breakdancer. Breakdancing is an Olympic event, yes?

  8. Love the gymnastics and the athletics especially, but it’s also such a great opportunity to see some of the less televised sports such as archery, badminton, hockey etc.
    Then there’s always full coverage of the dressage in the equestrian events, and some of that can be breathtakingly beautiful to watch.
    I think read somewhere way back that the BBC are going to be putting it out on 18 digital channels… but where I am going to put all those TV’s ???????? 😥

  9. Not sure if I will be watching or not. The only sport that ever gets watched on our tv is hockey, but we might tune in once in awhile to see how many medals Canada will be bringing home. Your post gave me goosebumps Mother. Well done. 🙂 xo

  10. I remember being so proud in ’68, that was awesome; it was also the first year I was arrested for chaining myself to a fence protesting the war (I was 11).

    I love Gymnastics! It is really the only thing I ever watch. It is close to dance.

  11. I absolutely get being sucked into the Olympic drama. Now that my daughter is in gymnastics and we both run, we’ve got lots more events to get all cheerleader-y about. Haven’t seen the Schiesse video; must do that now.

  12. SM,
    I can’t help but feel a bit of pride seeing a picture of Nadia Comaneci and knowing that it somehow means you indirectly wrote about Montreal. I know, I sound Sunday-Church serious…
    Le Clown

  13. I don’t have tv! Can one watch the olympics on the internet? I love gymnastics and swimming, but I also love the really weird sports like trampoline and ping-pong. Ping-pong on an Olympic level is just so riveting and intense!

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