There are certain things in life that just bring a smile to my face. In sports, I get excited each year about the World Series and March Madness. But they come around every year…the thrill of those events is the chance that my favorite team is good enough to make the championship. If not, it’s still fun to watch but there is not as much a vested interest to me as to who wins.
The Olympics, however, is a whole other story. It all starts with the process of becoming a host city. Then you have the theme music, the athletes’ stories, the thrill of going for gold–each part of the Games is unique and awe-inspiring.
Growing up I have had so many memories. In 1994, Lillehammer, Norway was my favorite opening ceremonies (not even sure what about it exactly..maybe I just felt close to my Norwegian heritage). That winter our front yard froze over and we ice skated and pretended we were Olympians.
I’ve visited two Olympic villages, Lake Placid, NY and Park City, UT, as well as Olympic training centers in Colorado Springs, CO and Marquette, MI. Lake Placid, NY is where I spent many years skiing between Christmas and New Year’s with family. Skiing down icy White Face Mountain, ice skating on the track in front of the high school (which was the Olympic speed skating oval for 1932 and 1980 games), watching ski jumpers practice, and holding my breath as my dad, brother and twin cousins went down a bobsled were all awesome memories. And in college I went to Park City, Utah (about a month after the Olympics left) and got to ski the slopes and visit the wintry town. The flame was still lit waiting for the Special Olympics to begin and we met up with a friend of mine who danced in the Opening Ceremonies.
The Olympics allows its audience to see sports being played that we typically do not get to see (and no I do not think basketball should be an Olympic sport). It’s a time that gives hope for humanity that the world can come together for the love of sport and put behind historical rife, political discontent, and religious disagreements. The world’s stage is showcased before us and the athletes are competing for all the glory. Can you imagine what it must be like training for so many years for just one shot at representing your country?
The London games have been fun to watch so far. Last night we saw history made with Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian (something I may never see again in my lifetime) and there are stories every night that continue to amaze! Swimming and gymnastics have been the highlights for me so far. I’m excited for track and field to start up and of course I’m going to pay close attention to the finish of the London Games with the marathon. And my final comment for tonight–Bob Costas has the best job and how do I sign up?