Sunday, August 12, 2012

No Cure For Olympic Fever

The Olympic flag still flies and the torch still burns for a few hours, but the games of the 30th Olympiad are winding down.

I am sad.

I am a self-proclaimed Olympic junkie.  I will watch Americans compete in anything from the marathon to Dressage, although I do draw the line at synchronized swimming.

I know for a fact that I am not alone.  Even people who normally despise television will be glued to their set for hours watching something like rhythmic gymnastics.  No one I know is a water polo fan, but dress some players in red, white and blue and slap an American flag on a swim cap and you have the potential for a national phenomenon.

And we love it when America wins.  There is something profound about watching your flag being raised at any Olympic medal ceremony.  The fact that we blew away everyone else in the medal count is not too shabby either.

It's not necessarily the memory of watching America rack up medals that stays with me.  It is the moments of profound sportsmanship and true determination that I most admire.

It is the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia competing in spite of death threats in the hopes of paving the way for other young Muslim women to follow.  It is the disabled athlete from South Africa running in an Olympic race on his prosthetic legs.  Or the hurdler from China not making it over a single hurdle due to an injury, but finishing the race by hobbling down the track on one leg and kissing the Olympic rings on the final hurdle before being helped off the field by his fellow competitors.  These moments prove that you do not have to have a medal around your neck to be a true champion.

All good things must come to an end, so I will take comfort in the fact that the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are only two years away.

Gotta go.  The gold medal game in handball is starting

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