A Very British Olympics

So I like most of you, I have been entranced by the Olympics coverage.  I have loved the Olympics since I was a little girl.  I remember watching Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn White in the winter Olympics and Pablo Morales, Summer Sanders, The Magnificent 7 in the summer Olympics.  Of course, we had the Olympics here in Salt Lake which was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever been a part of (and one of the most successfully executed Olympics in recent memory. No empty seats for us!).

I have such fond memories of watching and screaming with Sarah Hughes when she came from behind to win or when Apollo Ohno finally got his gold medal after being tripped earlier in the games.  I remember when Dan Jansen finally won a gold after falling again and again.  I remember watching the Dream Team and feeling like America was on top of the world.  Rulon Gardner defeating Karelin. All amazing Olympic moments.  Ian Thorpe blasting onto the swim world. Kerri Strug vaulting with a broken ankle. Paul Hamm winning a gold medal after practically vaulting onto the judges table.   It’s just amazing.

2008 was a fabulous Olympics especially watching Michael Phelps win 8 gold medals. It was a performance I will never forget!

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/watching-sports-inspires/

I think what makes the Olympics so special is the athletes give their entire life to represent their country in the games.  They sacrifice everything for their sport, their abilities and their country.  I think that is honorable.  It is honorable for both the medalists and those that just get there. Aside from maybe my mission I can’t think of a time when I sacrificed my life for something I believed in.  I just live an ordinary life and to me it is inspiring when others can do what the Olympians do.

It frustrates me when I see people laying on criticism of athletes like Michael Phelps.  Surely 19 medals should win our hearts but no, it does not seem to be enough for some people.  What does the man have to do? He took basically one year off and partied a little.  Give him a break. I think he’s awesome. An American hero.  For someone who supposedly has such an ego I’ve only seen him be incredibly gracious when he got 4th, and his silvers.  Same with Ryan Lochte, Nathan Adrien and the whole team.   They are all just so awesome!!!

My only problem watching the Olympics is I want the US to win everything.  Sorry, I’m an unabashed fan of all things US, BYU, LDS, Mormon, and Utah.

What are some of your favorite Olympic memories?

So far in these Olympics we’ve been less dominant than other years but it has still provided many compelling characters.  I will provide a couple of updates over the next 2 weeks but so far I’ve enjoyed some great viewing.   One thing that has been nice is more events seem to be broadcast.  I’ve really enjoyed watching the water polo matches, volleyball games (lots of BYU grads!), beach volleyball, kayaking, soccer, boxing and more.  I wish you could see some of these sports during the rest of the year and not just the Olympics.  They are a lot of fun to watch.

You think with all these sports channels we have now we could watch these more unusual sports.  Maybe we have them but I don’t know about them.  I’m going to look into that.

Anyway, some of my favorite moments from this Olympics so far are:

female swimming golds!- So far we’ve gotten golds from Dana Vollmer, Missy Franklin and Allison Shmitt.  My favorite was Vollmer.  She failed to make the team in 2008 and yet she came back to win gold.  It is an inspiration when someone looks failure in the face and does not waiver.  Awesome!

male swimming medals!-  19 medals for Michael Phelps.  Just amazing!  I would like to meet him someday.  I’d like to meet an Olympian and just hear what it is like.  Ryan Lochte’s medal in 400 IM was inspiring, Matt Grevers and Nick Tholman going 1-2 was amazing!  They are all just so cool.  The highlight was Michael’s 200 fly silver and then the awesome 4×200 relay.  What a fantastic performance that was.  Wow!

The thing that is great about this era of swimming is you have so many athletes competing in 2 or more Olympics.  Since we don’t always see swimmers outside of Olympics it helps to build the sport when there are repeat performances.  I was talking with a friend the other day and I had a hard time thinking of swimmers from the 80’s (my childhood) that had that kind of dominance for multiple Olympics. The only one I can think of is Janet Evans (who I idolized). The more name recognition you have, the more people remember swimming and want to participate in it.  I think it is great!  Each of these long-term swimmers like Lochte, Phelps and Coughlin could bow out and coach, make a living after medaling in one Olympics.  They don’t have to put themselves through 4 more years of brutal training but they chose to do so because they love the sport and love representing their country.  I think that is great!

female gymnastics- The team competition was so exciting! I was so glad to see Jordan Wieber come out and rock the competition.  She deserved to be in the all-around.  It is an insane rule that doesn’t allow the 4th best gymnast to compete.  Another example of the foolish desire to make everything fair.  Competition isn’t fair.  It’s competition.  How is it an effective gold medal if the best aren’t allowed to compete?  I was just so glad to see her get some redemption tonight.

One thing that has been fun is I just can’t wait for prime time to hear what is happening so I’ve been watching the BBC coverage online.  Kind of funny to hear the droll British commentary in comparison to the enthusiastic American announcers.  It all seems quite apropos for an Olympics in London.

Was anyone else underwhelmed by the opening ceremonies?   Even Paul McCartney couldn’t inject some excitement into the affairs.

More to come on the Olympics in this blog including my Olympic viewing party tomorrow!

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