I love the Summer Olympics.
Truthfully, I love the Olympics so much, that I was ready to pen this piece for our June/July edition. Only to then be guided by our editor as it may have been a bit early.
Chances are some may be reading this as events are in full swing, while others may not get to it until the final medals have been draped and back stories told.
I lamented for quite a bit on how and what to write in regards to the topic. The opening sentence is a bit broad and I hardly wanted to be viewed as a journalist lacking knowledge or expertise on such a diverse and well known topic.
But alas, I’m not a sports writer/reporter. I’m not a self-proclaimed ‘sports geek’ who follows stats and remembers all the key moments as if I witnessed them first hand.
What I came to realize as I look at the 2016 Summer Olympics, also known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is I’m likely no different than most.
I love watching the stories as they unfold. I love the memories built through Olympic viewing. And … I love watching the grace, determination and commitment the athletes bring to their given sport. I especially love the underdog or the ‘too old’ athlete as they show the world what they’re all about.
I still recall watching Dara Torres (just a few months my senior) shake up the 2008 Olympics as the oldest swimmer to ever earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team.
Torres went on to not only compete in those games, but take home three silver medals to share with her daughter, then a toddler. Her Time magazine cover hung on my office wall a good long while after her achievement.
Torres, for me, epitomizes what so much of the Olympics are about. From the moment one watches the opening ceremonies and the athletes as they parade in, it’s hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed and hope filled.
I often sit in wonderment as I watch, listening to the commentators and the insight they offer in the way of facts surrounding each country and its host of athletes.
Historically speaking, the United States typically sends the second largest number of athletes (next to the host country). So in an odd/twisted way of thinking the Olympics are an all American affair. Somewhat like a slice of apple pie or the story of an Italian immigrant who comes to America and achieves major success. We, the American viewer like a feel good story.
Not to be mistaken, we also like the thrill of victory and on occasion the agony of defeat. As a competitor I love getting caught up in the athleticism and thrill of it all. Learning of each athlete’s and/or team’s strength or weakness. It’s exciting.
Then of course there is the social element and tradition. The arriving to work and asking the ‘Did you watch last night?’ of others who share your interest. Personally, I really enjoy watching with my kids, just as I did with my mom when I was young. Cheering for our country or an underdog who we’ve grown to love as the Games unfold.
In short, I guess that’s what it all comes down to, the memories. Thank you Summer Olympics 2016 for once again providing days of viewing, which will serve our family in the way of memories for a lifetime. Team USA!Rio Olympic GamesWhen:
The networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal will present an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro,Brazil:Broadcast networks:
TELEMUNDO (Spanish language)
NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)
NBC UNIVERSO (Spanish language)
NBC Sports app