I have Olympic fever.
I will be so sad when this is over. Every night when the Olympics are on, I am hooked and cannot help myself but to stay up till it ends each night at midnight. Last night was the final showdown of the Women’s Ice Skating, my favorite event.
The emotion, the trials, the beauty, the stories of these amazing young women.
It’s the individual stories that impact me the most. The stories of sacrifice and hard work and determination. And, I think of the sacrifice of the families of the athletes and how neat it is when the athletes honor their parents by thanking them for their sacrifice.
I got to thinking about sacrifice, that there is no shortcut to where these athletes are today. There is no drive-through training, no quick workouts, no skip a day here, no wait till tomorrow or next week there. These athletes and their families have given up so much to be here these weeks in Vancouver, B.C.
The story of familial love hit home the most for me. Last night’s heart-wrenching ice skating performance by the young lady from Canada, Joannie Rochette, whose mother died of a heart attack last Sunday. And, that she went on the win a bronze medal despite her heartache epitomized the spirit of the Olympic Games. The impact was felt throughout the world. When Joannie was interviewed afterwards about her performance, they asked how she did it, and she gave her mom the credit. She said her mom taught her to be tough and to work hard at whatever she did and to not quit. http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-news/n/news/afp-news/figure-skating–rochette-puts-heartbreak-aside-to-claim-bronze_293842ok.html
There were other ice skating stories. The young 19-year-old woman from South Korea Kim Yu-Na who won the gold medal in figure skating. She talked about her dream, which started in her living room watching American Kristi Yamaguchi, the American figure skater who won the 1992 gold medal in figure skating, sparking a dream in the heart of the young Kim Yu-Na.
I have been staying up late and losing sleep and my kids have been joining me. It reminds me of my growing up years watching the Olympics and I had wanted to be an Olympic athlete. Gymnastics was my sport of choice, but then I got too tall and moved onto the dream of wanting to an Olympic Runner. Every kid needs dreams. Bad knees ended that dream. And, flash forward into my parenting years and my children are watching the Olympics with me, losing sleep and getting addicted to the Olympics and I know we will all have withdrawal symptoms when this is all over.
As an adult, I now enjoy more than just a select number of sports but almost all of the events of the Olympic Games. Each one has a story. A story of an athlete’s dream come true, a story of an athlete just happy to be here. A story of just missing a trip the medal platform by a point or a second. A story of a father giving up everything for his son’s dream, like Apolo Ohno’s dad, present at every nail biting event.
The announcers would talk about past Olympic medal winners, which brought to mind so many memories for me. I remembered those winners and their stories. Katarina Witt and the Swan Girl and Sarah Hughes and the Battle of the Brians and the husband and wife Russian couples pair, who had won two Olympic gold medals in 1988 and 1994 – Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkovage. Sergei died of a heart attack a year after that last gold medal performance when he was 28, leaving behind his wife and 3-year-old daughter. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/longterm/memories/1995/95pass2.htm
These athletes and their stories become household names. Names of people are go for amazing goals and reach for their dreams and sacrifice to reach their dreams.
The closing ceremony is on Sunday and I am already feeling the pre-sorrow emotions.
For now, there are three more days and I especially look forward to the showcase of all the ice skaters and dancers. And that will be just for fun. Just for the experience. Which is of course the point in the end after all.