Photo taken in Vancouver, September ‘09
Growing up in a rural eastern state, my family didn’t watch television. We owned a TV, but had no cable and spent our time playing outside on tire swings and taking 20 mile bike rides. However, every two years for two weeks, the television would be on every night as the family gathered around to watch the Olympics.
I remember becoming particularly obsessed with Marion Jones and Picabo Street and enjoying the Olympic feeling that to this day pulses through me when it’s an Olympic year. Seriously, I don’t know what it is about the games but I get *so* excited when the Olympics come! There’s something so unique about athletes from around the globe, competing against each other in such a huge event. I was scrolling through Wiki while writing this post and ran across names I haven’t seen or heard in a long time—Shannon Miller, Tonya Harding, Dan Jansen, Michael Johnson, the girls of the “Magnificent Seven”, Andre Agassi, Tara Lipinski, Johnny Moseley, Chris Witty, Dara Torres, Sarah Hughes, Timothy Goebel, Carly Patterson… wonder what they are doing now?
There are many things I find so interesting about the Olympics- for one, the amount of athletes who one way or another, for various reasons, compete for nations other than where they are from. I love the stories of the athletes, hearing where they began and why they fell in love with their sport.
On another note, can you imagine being the ONLY representative of your country in an Olympic games? One such athlete, Hong Kong’s Han Yueshuang caught a cold after a clothing mix-up at the Opening Ceremony. Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong missed qualifying for the 2006 Olympics because his plane was grounded in Amsterdam- he made it for the 2010 Olympics, though. Muhammad Abbas of Pakistan will be skiing in a race he’s probably dreamed of his whole life tomorrow morning. In the same race will be Samir Azzimani, a Moroccan athlete who brought eight schoolchildren from his home in France with him so they could experience Vancouver and the Olympics- how cool is that? I bet these athletes have amazing stories to tell. :-)
These days, the Olympic-watching has changed. The DVR records the athletes and I watch when I have time. I’m not with my family and I communicate with my siblings, friends, coworkers and bloggers through Facebook, Twitter and email about the races and wins. We have discussed a few times the uncanny likeness snowboarder Shaun White has to a younger version of my mom and one of my uncles. Strange, but true.
Some things don’t change though- there are athletes I have taken a liking to (Bode Miller’s story is interesting, I was SO happy for Alexandre Bilodeau as he won Canada’s first gold on Canadian soil…) and I stay up WAY too late and am sleep deprived as I take in all of the events I love!
Are you watching the Olympics? Who are your favorite athletes this year?