Thoughts on the Beijing Olympics

When the opening ceremonies kick off for the Olympics, I get excited. It doesn’t matter if it’s the summer or winter version of the games. I simply love the Olympics.

Photo by Robert Scales
Photo credit: Robert Scales on Flickr

When the closing ceremonies come about, I get a little sad. Two weeks straight of competition seems to have gone by in a blur. It only lasts a few days until you realize that the next games will come about in two years, so it all works out in the end.

Perhaps there was something a little extra to these games in Beijing, but my level of interest has certainly gone up from previous games. I think it’s because of my realization of how incredible the human body can be in particular events.

Photo by Robert Scales
Photo credit: Robert Scales on Flickr

When you strip it down to a single event, it’s all about who can be better at some of the most elemental, human aspects of competition. Who can run the fasted, throw the furtherest, jump higher, jump longer, life more weight, etc. It gets to be extremely basic, but these people dedicate their lives to one moment that might stretch out to a few more moments that might, and it’s a very slight chance, put them on the stand to win a medal on a global stage.

The team competitions are just as enthralling, and the talent and dedication is hardly lost on those competitions. Still, as a gymnast, you don’t have a team of people to lean on to get yourself at the top of your game. And in those situations, it’s almost worse. One botched attempt and you’ve lost the medal for an entire team event. It’s nerve wracking just watching it, so I can hardly imagine being a competitor.

Photo by Kris Krug
Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr

It’s tough to really put it into words as to how I really feel about the games, but Rebecca might be able to relay something by the way I would pull the remote away from her when attempting to “see what else is on”. This only happens once every four years. The rest of the TV world can wait.

Dan had a great post, so I will cheapen out just slightly and quote a lot of his post here because his passion hits the nail on the head for how I feel.

Another Olympics

I still have a hat from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. I remember watching Peggy Fleming skate. I remember when to black athletes bowed their heads and raised their gloved fists during the national anthem in Mexico City. I was glued to the set during the tragedy in Munich. I saw the “miracle on ice”.

I saw a basketball dream team do what we had always wanted. We finally sent the best basketball players we had instead of a college all-star team and that team destroyed the competition. I remember a Brazilian basketball team member being asked what he thought about the dream team and he said he thought it was great because it would raise the level of basketball the world over and now the NBA has players from all over the world and it isn’t an easy time for us anymore.

I crushed hard on Dorothy Hamill in 1976. I watched Carl Lewis dominate and then fail when he tried to repeat. I saw Mark Spitz win 7 gold medals. I saw Nadia’s 10 and loved Olga’s smile. I saw the favorites fall and underdogs win.

I love the Olympics but hate all the commercialism. But I understand that they could not survive without the money. I hate the U.S. network’s coverage because I want to see all the winners from all over the planet not just the American winners. I love the Canadian coverage because they are on live and show more. I would LOVE a cable package where you could see coverage from even more countries.

I LOVE it when an athlete or team from a small country wins because those people are then national heroes. […]

There will be lots of tears during the Olympics for me. I’m just that way. I don’t care who it is, but when they’re on that podium and their national anthem plays I get emotional.

I love the Olympics. [zonaboy]

Here, here.

Photo by Kris Krug
Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr

Beijing really did a number on these games. The venues were impressive, both opening and closing ceremonies were mind blowing, and the head of the IOC is already telling London that the bar has been raised high for 2012.

I enjoyed a lot of what I saw of these games. Let all of the political issues and arguments stem forth from these Olympics, but the spirit of competition sucked me in.

Phelps got eight gold medals, Jamaica is home of the fastest man in the world, and the strongest man of the games has the biggest heart. That’s just so cool.


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