I love the Olympics. I always have. I mean, when else does the world come together like this? Yes, there are still horrible things happening all over the place. But this feels like a couple weeks of beautiful coming together and (mostly, ha!) healthy competition. I have very fond memories of watching both summer and winter games as a kid (you know, when both summer and winter were the same year every four years?). I longed to watch gymnastics and figure skating and wished I wasn't too tall for either. :) I remember the summer Olympics being on American soil--Atlanta in 1996. Our women's gymnastics team, the "magnificent seven" won gold. Oh, and that vault by Kerri Strug. Bless her heart.
In the last few Olympics, it's gotten even more exciting, particularly with the addition of Michael Phelps to the world of swimming. I can distinctly remember sitting in the office of our first home in 2004, playing a game on the desktop computer (haha--this was obviously before kids) and watching this 19-year-old swimming phenom taking the Athens summer games by storm.
And it just keeps getting better and more exciting every time another Olympic year rolls around. I think what makes this year particularly fun is that Jack and Leah are old enough to actually enjoy watching some of the events. I'm sitting in the family room with both of them right now, as the afternoon coverage bounces among the various events happening live. We're marveling at the men's 1500-meter freestyle swim. (You guys--that's roughly 15 minutes of swimming without stopping. God help me). This is on the heels of seeing the semifinal of the men's 50-meter freestyle swim last night. It's one length of the pool and they literally don't breathe at all until they finish. The pool is a blur of splashing water and flailing bodies. Insanity.
We're waiting for coverage to return to rowing finals, which is a very exciting event for Jack and me, having both read The Boys in the Boat this year. (Side note--if you haven't read it, please do. And they adapted it for younger readers, which Jack loved). We're watching women's indoor volleyball and qualifying high jumps in track and field. We're hoping that the "trampoline" event listed in the schedule actually going to happen. Because that is so fun to watch!
I think another factor in the excitement of this particular summer Olympics is social media. Obviously, Twitter and Facebook has existed for previous Olympics. But memes are a more recent addition to the social media world, and there have been a plethora of amazing ones.
And, of course, Phelps face....
Also? Jen Hatmaker. Jen has made these Olympic games so enjoyable. She's hilarious--I'd love to sit and watch some events with her. :)
I also feel like this first week has been such an emotional rollercoaster. The Olympics make me so happy! But also, THE TEARS! My top tear-jerker moments?
1) The refugee team entering the stadium at the opening ceremonies.
2) Michael Phelps running into the stands to kiss his baby.
3) Women's gymnastics gold and announcing their team name, the Final Five. So touching!
4) David Boudia and Steele Johnson's interview after winning silver.
5) Anytime the person on the medal stand starts to tear up (I'm looking at you, Phelps, you softy).
6) Aly Raisman finishing her floor routine. She immediately started bawling, and then so did I.
7) Simone Manuel winning (tying for) gold in the 100-meter freestyle, making history as the first African American woman to win gold in an individual swimming event.
Okay, a little over week left, people. Swimming is coming to an end, and now we get to delve into track and field! I said on Facebook yesterday, I'm a little concerned for my emotional health when these games are over. I'm going to be so depressed when I can't turn on the TV and watch whatever sport happens to be going on. Talk about withdrawal! Lord help us all.