Tag: Olympics

Wowed by the Greatest

michael phelpsSorry I haven’t posted this week but I have been in love with watching the Olympics in Rio. I have been in love with the Olympics since I was a little girl- both summer and winter. I used to beg my parents to get cable TV just so we could watch the Olympics every 4 years.  There is something about the sacrifice and intensity that inspires me and is like nothing else. Every other competition they have another shot but this is 4 years in the making, which is unbelievable.

This Olympics in Rio we have been able to see not just the best win a gold medal but we’ve seen some of the best gold winners ever.  I mean what Michael Phelps has done is awe inspiring. He was already a hero to most Americans but to see him mount a comeback of all things ups the ante even more. His life was off track, he figured things out and then he’s back on top. How inspiring is that? 22 gold medals. I can’t even put my mind around that. Just wow!

simone and alyAnd then over in gymnastics it has been awe inspiring. Dubbed the Final Five, the ladies not only one the team gold but did it with positivity and team spirit that really impressed me. Simone Biles is so great the other gymnasts are asking her for autographs and shaking her hand. Tonight her and Aly Raisman went gold and silver in the all around and what an amazing achievement. It’s like the judges had to go searching for deductions they were so good. The crazy thing is if the stupid 2 per country rules wasn’t there than we would have probably swept the podium. It’s just been tremendous to watch.

kerri-walsh-jenningsThe last amazing story I’ve enjoyed watching (along with a million other ones) is Kerri Walsh Jennings over in beach volleyball. The 3 time gold medalist and mother of 2 is looking for gold 4 and whether she ends up with it or not it’s been incredible to watch her play. She has never lost a game in Olympic play and I think only lost 2 sets! That’s just mind blowing. I love the fact that she has used it to help her be a better mother not a distraction. She says she’s good at “having babies and playing volleyball”. Ha! She’s also so gutsy when she had some injuries on her shoulder I believe and yet she keeps going strong. She’s just fearless.  She’s at these games with a new partner but seems to be doing well with her as well.  It’s nothing short of impressive.

What athletes and stories have stuck out in your mind? There are so many so please share in the comments section.

And by the way USA is totally rocking it in the medals count!!!  Wahoo!

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Olympic Thoughts

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So any out there that follows this silly blog knows how much I love The Olympics, both Summer and Winter.  I am not overstating it when I say one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life was attending and being a part of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Games.

It was unbelievable to see the athletes and root for my country and I hope to one day have a similar experience in the Summer Olympics.  I’ve even thought about going to Rio in 2016.  We will see.

One odd thing about the Olympics is with all of their drama there aren’t that many movies about the Olympics.  Strange hah?  I can only think of a few- Cool Runnings, Cutting Edge, Miracle and Chariots of Fire.  What am I missing?   You would think there would be more.

Pablo Morales or Dan Jansen’s stories would make such good movies.  I wonder why they’ve never been made?

I've loved watching the hockey.  I may be a hockey fan!
I’ve loved watching the hockey. I may be a hockey fan!

Anyway, with that long introduction I must admit to being kind of bummed out as a viewer of these games.  Not disappointed in our athletes.  They have my total support but the results and lack of competition in many events.  There hasn’t been much that is real close and I’ll be honest I like it when my team wins.  I do and minus snowboarding and slopestyle we haven’t been doing a lot of winning.

Thank goodness for the snowboarding and slopestyle which have provided some of the only real entertainment.  Everything has been so lopsided and usually not in our favor.  It’s just been hard to watch. Sad 😦

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I wondered this week if maybe I have outgrown the Olympics.  Double sad but I hope not.  I hope it is just an anomaly because I love what they represent and I love our athletes.  There is something about everything in Sochi including the outrageous propaganda piece called The Opening Ceremonies that has felt corporate and stale.

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Part of that is the fault of the terrible NBC coverage but also so many seem to be going through the motions.  It was so great today to see Noelle Pikus-Pace who is not only a Utahn but a great example for all young people.  She came back after an injury and a miscarriage to win a silver medal.  I’ve missed that warmth and spirit these games.

Another highlight was seeing  Erin Hamlin get a bronze in luge, America’s first in that sport. I loved her attitude and spirit.

erin hamlin

NBC FAIL

Now let me rant a little bit about NBC.  There are 15 categories of sports in the Winter Olympics.  This is drastically less than the 26 in the Summer Olympics; however, there are many of those summer events that get little to no coverage such as ping pong, field hockey and handball.  I think the number of covered sports is probably not that different.

Nevertheless, NBC has decided to air the events in the morning when they are taking place and then a highlight reel spliced together with other events for their primetime coverage.  This means in the skating for instance you only see 5 or 6 of the skaters where in the morning you get 20 something.

I recently read a report saying that 79% of the people who have paid tv have a DVR service in their home. This means, NBC, people can record the morning shows and watch them the way they deserve to be seen!  Why not give us something new in either the morning or primetime instead of simply repeating a diluted version of what most of us have recorded from the morning!!  I have found myself not watching in the evening at all because it makes me so crazy and why when I’ve already seen it?

NBC sigh...
NBC sigh…

The most frustrating part is their two best commentators are on the hockey and cross country/biathlon events and if people only watch primetime they don’t see hardly any of that.  No wonder everything feels corporate and staged because NBC is chopping it up and feeding you the sports center version.  The athletes deserve better.  They’ve sacrificed their lives for a moment and NBC can only give a primetime highlight reel.

It really irks me because I know there are heats, meets, games and matches we could be seeing that we aren’t, and that most people who only watch primetime are getting such a weak version of the truth.  Don’t show us something twice NBC! At least I have the DVR and can watch the actual coverage of the events.   I’m sorry NBC but your  primetime coverage is an embarrassment.

Ok. Rant over.  Things I have liked are the slopestyle addition into the Olympics (US is sure grateful for that, almost half our medals are from that new event), Pikus-Pace, the new team figure skating competition, US hockey men and women, and Jeremy Abbots inspiring finish of his program after a hard fall.

I feel bad for Shaun White.  He has been a great champion.  I love him and am sad when we feel a sense of glee at the fall of our heroes.  It is a most unsightly part of our culture. I never saw him be anything but graceful and kind, even exuberant towards those who beat him.  It reminded me of Michael Phelps 4th place finish in his first race in 2012 but unfortunately Shaun doesn’t have 6 or 7 more chances to prove himself like Phelps.  I’m still a fan and I think we all should be.

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I also feel bad for our speedskaters.  Ever since watching Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen in the 90s the races have been one of my favorite parts of the games.  I also love Apollo Ohno both as an athlete and person.  What a class act. I admire how he always was happy to get on the podium.  Competitive as ever, but thrilled with a bronze medal.  That’s great to see.  So, it was with some excitement that I watched race after race and to see our athletes do so poorly  was disheartening.

Some have said it is the slow ice.  Some have said it is the suits and I honestly have no idea but something doesn’t feel right.  We have 4 world record holders and no medals?  And it’s not just no medals but world champions like Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson finishing 24, 32nd it’s strange.   I just don’t get it?  Why weren’t they prepared for slow ice?

They knew it was coming so why not practice on it?  I know they tested the suits but the fact they were untested in competition boggles the mind.  How could that happen?  You don’t test out new equipment at the Olympics!  There should be no question on such issues.  It’s really quite outrageous and I feel bad for the skaters.

Anyway, it’s been a bit of a let down of  an Olympics.  Plus, all the reports of the terrible preparation, shoddy hotels, mess, mangy dogs everywhere.  I think of the glee that I had when I went downtown to watch the games and SLC and it is a shame.  The Olympics deserve better than Putins scraps and 30 billion gone to who knows what.  Unbelievable!  The Olympics deserve better.

Hopefully week 2 will be better than week 1 but I’m telling you guys if you have DVR record the morning broadcasts not the primetime.  You are selling yourself and our athletes short by only watching the primetime.  Trust me on this!

Favorite Olympic Moments

So you all probably remember that I love the Olympics.  I love the pageantry, the message of nations coming together and the intensity of a 1 in 4 year shot to win.  There is nothing like it!

When I was a little a girl my parents would go spats of 2 years or more without TV and then the Olympics would come (they used to be only every 4 years for both winter and summer) and I would beg my parents to get TV so I could watch the Olympics.  I love both the summer and winter.

Of course the highlight of my Olympic fervor was in 2002, which was a great year for me all around because I’d had such a tough 2001 and I graduated from  BYU (where does the time go!).

The Olympics was really a dream come true for me and I went to as many events as I could and spent as much time downtown watching the events on a big screen they had outside the arenas.  All and all I saw several cross country races, ice dancing, hockey matches and it was so great!  I’ve been thinking about going to Rio to experience a summer games but we’ll see how finances are in 2016 but that would be a blast.

There were some great moments at the 2002 games.  The opening ceremonies was like a love song to the culture I grew up in.  So many I knew were participating and volunteering.  I’ll never forget when Sarah Hughes won the gold.  My friends and I cheered and then booed when the Canadian pair didn’t win the gold (a later scandal would eventually give them a gold medal).

Apollo Ohno was the big stars of those games and I was watching outside for a number of his races including the one in this video.

The great thing about Apollo is he has said repeatedly that anytime he gets on the podium it is an honor and something to be proud of.  He always has a big smile on his face and yet he is as competitive as someone could be.  I will miss him at these games but it will be fun to hear him as a broadcaster.

Anyway, he is one of my favorites.  Team USA on their youtube channel has been posting videos of gold medal moments and there are lots of good one’s but here are some of my favorite:

There are so many more I could pick!  What are some of your favorite Olympic moments?

Medals for Everyone!

US Swimmers!

How amazing has this swim Olympics been?  I’m honestly sorry to see it go (with the open water and triathlon coming next week but I don’t know if they will be broadcast).  I know I feel inspired.

Micheal Phelps has always said one of his main goals “is getting new faces into the sport. Getting kids who could be afraid of water to feel comfortable in the pool.”

As amazing as Beijing was for Phelps, Lochte and Coughlin it was practically a 3 member team.  In London we have seen an incredible variety of medalists.  By my count the US has 20 different swimmers that have medaled in races (not counting prelim swimmers like Coughlin).   14 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze with more to come tomorrow.

The thing about this that excites me as a complete amateur swimmer there are 20 athletes to look to and be inspired by.  It’s like the dream team of swimming! It really does inspire me to want to try harder and be as great as I can be.  To see so many people succeed makes it feel more likely that I can succeed in my goals, small as they might be.

I also greatly admire the Olympic spirit I’ve seen in the US swimmers.  Everyone is always talking about the egos of Lochte and Phelps but all I’ve seen is graciousness and smiles even in defeat.  What else can you ask for in an Olympian?

If I compare Phelps’ response to getting silver in the 200 to the Russian women in their silver in gymnastics, I don’t know how you can not see that he handled himself pretty darn well?  True with Lochte too even after losing to Phelps and getting bronze in his 200 back he was gracious and a complete gentleman.

The American women have done so much better than anyone would have thought.  I think everyone expected to see golds for Franklin but to have Vollmer, Soni, Shmitt and today Ledecky  (and the relay) all gold is  awesome!

Everyone of their stories amazes and excites me.  I want to be more like an Olympian.  Sometimes I can be so undisciplined.  I’m doing this wellness challenge and going without sugar for 21 days is seeming like the hardest thing in the world.  Surely if Michael Phelps can win 20+ medals I can go without sugar for 21 days :).

I’d like to meet an Olympian someday.  Find out what it’s really like.  I’ve also set a goal to start saving my money so I can go to the games in Rio. I’ve got 4 years to save and I think it is going to be awesome.  (Plus, you get to go to Rio. Win, win!).

Amazing relay!

Anyway, I hope all of you have enjoyed watching the Olympics as much as me.  Not only swimming has inspired me. I’ve loved watching the water polo, volleyball, gymnastics, rowing, kayaking, basketball, everything.   I’m inspired by every Olympic athlete, especially the Americans.  And how fun this year to get to follow the athletes on twitter and read their responses and ‘feel’ like you are having a conversation with them!  I can wish Ryan Lochte happy birthday or congratulate Michael Phelps on his wins.   I feel like I’m practically there cheering them on!  It makes it feel all the more real.  It’s so cool!

The only people I feel sorry for in these Olympics is all the poor saps in Vegas who tried to predict these games.  Not so much! For example, nobody at the swimswam prediction game put Manaudou as even a medalist on the 50 free, let alone gold.  Not one ballot!  It’s so great!

Thank you to all the amazing athletes.  Now we will be on to track and field.  Not quite as compelling as swimming for me, but still it’s going to be awesome.  I hope Lolo Jones can pull out a miracle. Rooting for her!

You know how with gymnastics and ice skating they have tours that go around the country and you can see all the Olympians?  I wish you could do that with swimming but might not work as nicely for a show. ;).  Still it’d be so cool to see them swim someday.

Well, better pull myself away from Olympic viewing and try to sleep.  I can’t believe my race is next week.  Ahhh! I don’t feel ready even though I did my practice 5k a month ago.  I don’t feel ready.  Still, I’m going to take a lesson from these amazing athletes and try my hardest and finish the race. 🙂 (and I have a new goal to get an Olympian to tweet me after my race! I love living in 2012!)

Lochte, Phelps, Cseh winners of 200 IM. What a great race that was. I will miss watching this rivalry.
Go USA Swimming!
Gold medal in 4 by 200 relay. So great!

Still my favorite story of the games.  Double gold for Dana Vollmer after facing failure and succeeding.  So awesome!  Makes me want to confront my failures and not give up.

Goings on

So I’m doing this awesome Wellness challenge started by old friend Heather.  The challenge is based on a point system where you get points for healthy eating, exercise and spiritual reading/goal setting.  I like that it isn’t solely focused on weight because as I well know sometimes the lbs can be out of your control.

“This challenge is based on a daily point system with each of the following categories awarding one point per day. At the end of the 21 days two winners will be chosen: the person who lost the greatest percentage of their total body weight and the person who has the highest total number of points. Be HONEST!!!

1. Drink 48 ounces of water a day.
2. 45 minutes of exercise (doesn’t have to be consecutive)
3. No soda or alcohol
4. No sweets a.k.a. desserts, pastries, candy, etc. (Sugar-free alternatives are okay)
5. No fast food or unhealthy snacks
6. Consume two servings of fruits and veggies each day
7. No eating after 8 p.m.
8. Read 15 minutes of spiritual or motivational text
9. Write in your journal or blog.
10. Make a personal goal everyday (getting 8 hours of sleep, organizing a closet, reading to your kids each night, etc.)

**You get ONE FREE POINT PER AREA, PER WEEK. For example, you can skip exercise for one day a week and still get your point or you can have one whole free day!

Pretty cool hah,
Well, the challenge #9 means I will be blogging a lot in the next 21 days.  Gotta get my points. 🙂

Luckily I have a lot going on.

As I said yesterday I made an offer on a condo but the sellers have been strange in counter offering.   At first they offered too high and included a bizarre contingency that they had to buy a house or the offer was void.  I thought that was crazy.  There is no way I would do something like that.  Forget it.  I could end up without a house.  Then they sent a counter offer that was less without the nuts clause but they took out closing costs so it was basically the same.

The truth is the sellers over-improved their house for the neighborhood and now they are expecting me to pay for it.  They said in their offer that they couldn’t go any lower because they would lose money.  I said I’m sorry but what they have into the house is not my problem.  I am concerned with what the house is worth.  I can’t pay more because they have over-spent.

I’ve gotten a lot of advice and am okay if I lose the house.  I love it but there are other homes, other days.  We will see if the sellers wake up and get it together.  Nerve wracking!

The other craziness in my life is next Saturday is my swim!!!  My practice 5k seems like decades ago.  I can’t even believe it. Lately I’ve felt weak in the water.  I felt really strong after my Great Salt Lake swim but lately I’ve been dragging.  I can’t explain it but its been very frustrating and makes me nervous for next week.  I wish I had time to do a practice 5k next week to feel more confident but there is just no time.

I’ve been trying to change my breathing so I’m taking shorter breaths but in the meantime it leaves me feeling weak.  Just frustrating and nerve wracking.

I wish it was this weekend, and I could just be done. 2 weeks before any goal is done is the worst.  It just about makes me crazy.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/when-goals-make-you-nuts/

 

At least I have end of the month next week so I should be kept hopping and hopefully the week will zoom by and I will be a finisher at a 5k swim!

So, that’s my rambling post for the day.  Let me just end by saying what a crazy Olympics this has been.  Great job Gabby Douglas, Rebecca Soni, Tyler Clary, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.  Wow!!! Its interesting because in Beijing Lochte and Phelps won everything but in London a lot of different swimmers have made gold.  It’s like they all just met together and said ‘let’s give everyone a gold’.  Pretty fun to watch.

I was watching Phelps race today on BBC and with about 15 meters left the coverage stopped! Talk about leaving me hanging! So I’m watching it now.  He did it!  Hurray! What an amazing accomplishment.  3 time gold medal winner in 200 IM.  So great!

They are all so amazing and inspire me to be awesome in my little effort next Saturday.

Let’s do it!

Ok.  So that’s my ramblings for the day.  More to come tomorrow.

 

 

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!

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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!

Watching Sports Inspires

The other day I was talking with a man and he said:

“You probably hate talking about sports”.

I said, “No, I like sports. I am a bit wishy-washy in my following but I have always liked sports- especially the Olympics.”

“Really?”  He said in surprise.

We then talked about the Utah Jazz, Jimmer, BYU football, Olympics ect.  I am not trying to say that I am an expert or some kind of die hard fan but I enjoy any good competitive match/race/game. I also pride myself on being well informed on a variety of topics including sports.  Unlike some girls, I can hold my own in a sports-related conversation.

I think the Olympics is particularly exciting because they only happen every 4 years- making the work that much more intense, the results more amazing.

There are some women who hate for their husbands to be interested in sports but I would way rather have that then video games. At least sports is something we can enjoy together.  I hate video games and am truly terrible at playing them (especially anything with the controllers I can’t seem to figure out). Just ask my brother.  He tried to teach me how to play Halo and it was a sorry site.

I also think there is an inspirational element to sports that doesn’t exist with video games.  Lately I’ve been reading Michael Phelps book entitled “Michael Phelps No Limits: The Will to Succeed”.  It is a standard inspirational sports book with cliched platitudes encouraging the reader to dream big, train hard and never shy away from bold goal setting.

Yet, somehow I am enjoying the book very much.  Michael Phelps is such an amazing story that I don’t know if he needs great writing accompanying his book?  I am getting exactly what I wanted when I bought it- a giant pep talk to get me  in the water- to push me forward in life. Phelps’ accomplishments at the Olympics were so amazing that he has earned the right to be an athletic inspiration.  That’s what I want from him and that’s what his book gives me.

Anyway,  I thought I would share with you the story of one of my athletic heroes which you may not be familiar with.

In 1992 I was 11 years old watching the Barcelona games when I heard about a swimmer named Pablo Morales.  His story has always impressed me.

Training his entire life he worked hard to get to the 1984 Olympics and won 2 silvers and a relay gold.

Then as a national champion and world record holder in the 100 fly he was heavily predicted to win gold in 1988. With weighted expectations he had what some say was the “worst Olympic trial swim of all time” and failed to even qualify for the Olympic games.  Devastated Pablo stepped away from swimming and went to law school.

In 1992 he decided to “unretire” and came back to swimming.  By this point he was 27 years old and had been away from competitive swimming for years.  The magnitude of his task was great and the likelihood of failure high but nevertheless he decided to make the attempt.

Can you imagine the demons that must have been going through his mind when entering the water at the Olympic trials?  Michael Phelps says that the “mental aspect of sports is just as important as the physical part.  There can be no doubt about that”.

By choosing to enter the race Morales decided to conquer the mental Everest that only past memories can make so exceptionally difficult to climb. A Sports Illustrated piece on the race describes the moment:

Where did he fit? He had fallen into the first category, the disappointments, in ’84 and again at the ’88 trials. Was it better to be in the second category, an unknown quantity, a question, a possibility rather than a probability? He could only wait to see where his story would fit in the string of stories. “I had no idea what to expect,” he said. “All I knew was I was going for the gold medal. That was the dream.”

Was there any swimmer on the team who did not know how difficult a trip he had undertaken? Gone from the sport for three years, retired, totally out of the water, he had traveled east to tackle law school at Cornell. He was eating cheeseburgers and reading torts. Gone. His decision to try a comeback had come upon him last summer in a growing rush. Could he do this? His mother, Blanca, was dying of cancer in Santa Clara, and then in September she was dead. He was thinking of her and he was thinking of himself and he was thinking of the Olympics. He went off on his own little crusade, perhaps riding toward a creaky windmill, off on a fool’s errand, but perhaps not. There were no shoe contracts or seven-figure deals being offered. He simply was giving a year of his life to see how well he could do.

“It was not unfinished business, trying to do something I never had done,” he says. “I never looked at it like that. I think all parts of your life are experiences. You experience one thing, then move to another. These were separate. I suppose you could say I was going toward the windmill, but I never thought that. I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to see.”

“At the finish I looked at the scoreboard, and it had such an unreal quality,” Morales said about his win in the 100-meter butterfly on Monday, completing a comeback at 27 years old that at one time seemed only a faint prayer. “Once something like this happens, you wonder if it really happened. You wonder the same way if you win or if you lose. Did it really happen?”

He did it! He won the gold despite all the odds.  It’s a great story!

This is why I like sports because it helps me remember the potential of the human body to perform and the power of the human mind to excel.

What sports moments inspire you? Please share. This is one of many I have.