I completely understand that some folks have no use for athletic competition and especially the Olympics. I’ve always enjoyed the Olympics – I very much prefer the Winter Games to the summer that we are experiencing now. It’s no secret I was a jock in high school and college so I suppose I gravitated naturally to the Olympics. I remember having a TV rolled into the classroom in 6th grade to watch some of the games. I do believe we saw Billy Mills win his race that year.
It’s a pity the games have become so politicized but that was inevitable - beginning with the Berlin Olympics and Jesse Owens. Russia could not compete so they started a state-sponsored program for their athletes, making sport their entire life. China has done the same. That essentially made their athletes professionals and opened the floodgates to things like our Dream Team in basketball and the current hockey tournament that includes NHL, KHL and other professionals. Since the olympics are about the best competition, that doesn't bother me.
I get a kick out of sports I generally have no interest in every 4 years – stuff like gymnastics (my wife was a highly accomplished gymnast in her time but those were indeed different times), rowing, curling and the like. What’re my fave Olympic moments you might ask? Well – even if you don’t ask I’ll tell you – here are my top 3
Jesse Owens in Berlin
Miracle on Ice
Watching Olga Korbut turn the gymnastics world upside down
I also get a kick out of the national pride on display at the podium by many of the winners.
Sure there are issues. The Olympics are after all run by people. People always have agendas. Get over it and enjoy the competitions - for crying out loud. How often do you get to see the best athletes compete against each other. And each Olympic Games has its great underdog story - can you say Miracle on Ice? Plus, it is impossible to escape the Games as they are ever present. Just as politics are pervasive in our lives, every four years we are beseiged by the spectacle of athletic competition. Why not sit back and enjoy the break from the frustration of daily life and root for your home team or individual. I get excited when I hear this on TV...