U-S-A! U-S-A!

I find myself drawn to the Olympics this year similarly as I was when I was younger. I don't think I caught a single event in the 2004 Olympics, and I am not sure why; I have always enjoyed the Olympics, and I have quite a few memories over the years.

I remember the '84 Summer Olympics and the men's gymnastics team. I thought I was in love with Mitch Gaylord. Loved watching him on the rings. Bart was great. And that Mary Lou Retton was so cute and amazing.

I remember the '88 Winter Olympics. Debbie Thomas was one of the favorites in figure skating, and I think she stumbled, to Katarina Witt perhaps. Debbie ended up with the bronze, and I grabbed my ice skates, walked down to the frozen lake at our lake house, and took a few novice spins on the ice, as some sort of a cathartic process/homage to Debbie. At PSU three or four years later, I took an ice skating PE, where I learned some basic moves. My love for ice skating goes back to Dorthy Hamil. I had the doll and something resembling the hair cut!

I remember Greg Louganis in '88 Summer Olympics. I am pretty sure I had a crush on him too. He hit his head on the board, and I practically stopped breathing. But I seem to recall his next dive was flawless. Cue Whitney's "One Moment in Time."

I remember the '92 Summer Olympics and Kerri Strug doing the vault on a bad ankle, thinking the team needed her score. The Dominiques. Not much else. Yes, gymnastics is one of my favorites.

Even though I have not followed the Olympics in years, and I probably could not have told you the name of a single US contender unprompted before last week (I heard the name Micheal Phelps before, but I might have thought he was a gymnast), I find myself holding my breath during events. I get excited. I am pulling for these kids and young adults to win. I just cannot imagine what it must feel like for these athletes, some of whom have practicing since they were kids, waiting for, in some cases, an event lasting only a few minutes.

Not sure what has brought me back to Olympic Land, although I have a slight suspicion that watching the first day on a 42" flat panel HD TV made it pretty appealing (no, we did not buy the dream TV yet; we were staying at a hotel that had one, and boy did it make me want to go home and smash my TV). Looking forward to the rest of the games.

U-S-A! U-S-A!


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