Ok. So, word is now out. I am a huge Olympics fan. And it started early. I remember sitting glued to the television as a young girl mesmerized by those Eastern European gymnasts who wowed the crowd with their every move – and win!
But I will never forget watching the evil, all-powerful Red team (the Soviets) taking on that scrappy White team (Team USA) on the ice during the 1980 Winter Games. A triumph that will live in the hearts and minds of many a viewer forever.
Everyone knew that the amatuer American kids were going to get creamed by the hardened, full-time Russian professionals, but for us die-hard, underdog-rooting Patriots, we couldn’t resist cheering on our rabble rousers…and holding out eternal hope.
Never in a million years could we have imagined our boys getting close in score, let alone catching up – then winning!. It was truly one of those moments that give you goosebumps whenever you recall it. The story was even made into a movie, or two….
“Eleven seconds, you’ve got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!”
I still get chills.
And, I can still see the faces of the dazed Russians standing on the Silver platform waiting to receive their 2nd place medals. These men only knew one color: Gold. We all watched with wide eyes as they stood stunned and horrified.
Back then, stories often leaked about the very bad things that happened to athletes in communist countries who “lost” at the olympics. Many times, athletes would “defect” to our country once they finally got to the Olympic games. The Iron Curtain and the villainy of its tyranny was very real in those times. America and Russia were enemies. Their people were not “free” and we despised them for holding their citizens as hostages in their own homeland. I had the opportunity to see that manner of governing first hand when I stayed a few days with a family in East Germany. I stood at the Berlin Wall in 1989 – right before the wall fell! But that’s for another blog…
It’s hard to imagine now, but in those days, the olympics were more than a contest of sports. We citizens of the world played out our international politics on the fields and on the slopes. Whoever took home the Gold, truly “ruled” so to speak. So the race was ALWAYS “on”. And it was usually the “free” countries vs. those that we believed were not.
Vancouver 2010
These days, it’s back to more of a sportsman, who’s the best athlete, ain’t that cool, kinda thing. And, if you’re like me, the tissue box is at hand as we watch those amazing segments that follow the athletes back to their homes and villages where we are allowed an intimate look into their personal lives and their journey to that coveted spot at the revered Olympic Games.
There is something so powerful about watching our fellow humanity as they face amazing odds, rising repeatedly at the crack of dawn, and pushing their minds and bodies to limits few of us will ever experience let alone comprehend.
So, at my house, the television set will, as usual, be on from Opening to Closing ceremonies. My faithful Labrador Mix will probably be able to howl to the Olympic Network Theme (or hopefully the Star Spangled Banner!) by the end of February. No matter what is going on, the constant stream of athletes, their remarkable stories, and the fabulous events will flow throughout my home and mind. Kind of like at your house — I would imagine.
Be sure to tune in with me and watch as you are able. The Opening Ceremonies begin Friday evening, 2/12/10 at 6:30 pm CST. And with that…
PS: My 91 year-old grandmother just emailed me to remind me it’s on NBC!