Hello, my name is Kristi and I’m an Olympic junkie.
Seriously, I LOVE the Olympic games! I’ve been counting down the days till Opening Ceremony and am now thrilled that they are here. It’s something I’ve always been in to, which is ironic because I never watch any sort of sports. Mostly, I could care less, but there is something special about these games that draw my attention every two years. Actually, there are a few special things:
1. Average Joes – these athletes are in peek physical condition, yet they are the most like us regular people. They aren’t like pro athletes in that they have million dollar homes and entourages. There are very few with product contracts. And some of them even have to raise money or save up to be in the games. One family even talked about how they didn’t give gifts or go on a trip for Christmas so that they could spend the money to get to the games. Another female athlete pushed back her wedding date so her family could afford to both attend the Olympics and her wedding. These games have heart. They aren’t in it for the money, they are there for the love of the sport.
2. Good Stories – I actually really enjoy all the commentators at the events. They are able to provide the background on the athletes and countries, and they all seem to have such wonderful stories. I want someone to cheer for, and these people are handed to me. This gives me a greater connection to them because I now understand them better. I know where they’ve come from to get there. And it gives me the desire to cheer and root for them more, even if they are from other countries. I really want Canada to win a gold medal, because they have never won one on their soil, though this is their third time to play host!
3. Participation – I think it’s inspiring to see the countries show up to the Olympics that only have a few athletes competing. This year there were several with only one. I am glad they decided to come and participate, not with great dreams of winning but simply with the spirit of belonging. They still have as much right to attend as more developed countries but they have more obstacles to overcome, yet here they are. I think that is really cool.
4. Loyalty – Not that I’m an unproud American, but I probably never feel more patriotic than during the Olympics. It was nothing short of thrilling to see Michael Phelps win his record-breaking medal in the last Olympics. And it was just as exciting to see Apollo Ohno set another last night. I am proud to say that we are from the same country. I’m looking forward to cheering on many more of the same over the next two weeks. I have something in common with these people, and that is a great bond.
5. Perseverance – I often joke that if a movie is based on a true story, I have to see it because I know it’ll be good. Usually, these aren’t the movies that I would choose to see first, but I always know they’ll show someone overcoming adversity to do something incredible. It’s the same with the Olympics. I will watch basically any sport, even if I don’t know what it is or how it’s played, because there will be some amazing element to it. Someone will overcome adversity to stand on that platform and have a gold medal hung around his/her neck. They will triumph…and I’ll probably cry. There is almost nothing greater than seeing humans overcome odds to win.
6. Unity – I think one of the coolest things that happens during the games is the spirit of worldwide unity. Though we are competing against one another, we applaud each other’s efforts. We recognize and identify what it took to get to this place. We stand on common ground. It was heart-breaking to hear about the death of the 21 year-old luger from Georgia, but it was touching to see the world come together to mourn him and support his country.
7. Competition – I love a good competition. I’m a very competitive person, so I feel like these games are the height of competition. They are worldwide recognition of the best.
8. Knowledge – It seems like every Olympics there is a new sport, or even a new country, that I’ve never heard of. I really enjoy learning about the sport and what it takes to be good at it. And I always seem to learn more and more about the ones I’ve seen many times, or how they’ve improved it. We keep trying to be better, it’s in our nature.
9. Distraction – The Olympics are also just a nice break from the norm. They are this shiny, new, exciting toy we get to play with periodically. And before we have a chance to get bored with them, they go away. But just wait, they’ll be back!
10. Grandeur – Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves and I think the Olympics is one of those somethings. Every two years I have an incredible two weeks. I see history-making stories unfold. I am part of the crowd cheering for my home countries athletes. I was one of the 68 million people who watched the Opening Ceremony. I am holding my breath as finish lines are crossed. I remember moments from the past that are still talked about. I am glued to my TV as records are set, tears are shed, and medals are awarded. I was there. And it was grand.
See, now with all of those reasons, why wouldn’t I love the Olympics! They are these things and so much more. They aren’t just games, they are monumental.
Now I have to go…the news is almost over and the moguls will begin soon…