I saw an on-line article addressing “Post Olympic Letdown” in the title. I thought the reporter was addressing the wide audience of viewers, like me, who have enjoyed the Olympics and are a bit sorry to see the competition come to an end. Silly me! The article was talking about the athletes, citing past research indicating intensive exercise can be as addictive as any powerful drug, thus warning that Olympians may face withdrawal. True enough, but what about the rest of us?
I have enjoyed watching the Olympics in the evening. I have my complaints about the way some of the events were covered. I would have enjoyed seeing more in “real time” and I know I missed a great deal. But as someone who says over and over that she “hates” sports, I came to admit that I’ve been entirely too quick to paint with a broad brush here! Whereas I heard some ardent sports enthusiasts labor over how the stories of the athletes, replete with drippy sentimentality and focus on the moms and dads in the cheering section took away from the focus on the competition and competitors, it worked for me! I was sucked in! I really enjoyed the stories of the athletes, their families, and the family sacrifices.
I was also reminded of how as a child and through much of my young adulthood I enjoyed watching Saturday night television and ABC’s Wide World of Sports. It was a regular family event. If you also watched that show you probably remember the poor ski jumper’s catastrophic crash forever linked to the melodramatic voice over and the words “the agony of defeat” as a favorite part of the opening credits. Host Jim McKay would introduce sports from around the globe. Surfing, logger sports, curling, jai-alai and rodeo joined regular Olympic sports of figure skating, skiing, gymnastics, and track and field. Along with stories and contexts of the athletes I enjoyed a glimpse of other countries represented through international athletes. So at least at that time in my life I did enjoy sports–perhaps just from an international perspective!
I know we all root for our “home team” and watching the Olympic games I was naturally pleased when one of our athletes brought home the Gold. But truthfully I was excited for any athlete representing his or her country with a medal win. And I can be partial to “The Star Spangled Banner” and still very much enjoy hearing National Anthems from around the world. But I have a question.
Maybe you can settle a discussion we’ve been having in our home…I tried to Google the question and came up empty handed. Was it ever true that at the awards ceremonies all three winners, Gold, Silver and Bronze, each heard their country’s anthem played? That’s how I remember it, but Jay says “no.” I have some recollection of hearing more anthems in the medal ceremonies when I was a child than I have in recent years—did I dream that?
While trying to find my answer about 1960s era Olympic award ceremonies, I came across a story that amused me and just in case you missed it, I’ll share it with you here. At a regional ski festival in Kazakhastan the crowd rose for the national anthem–only to hear the opening bars of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” blare out over the PA system.
How? What happened to the poor soul who queued up that error? I probably don’t want to know that.
I suppose we’ve gained a little evening time with the Olympics behind us. That extra time will help with a busy week! And to start the week thinking of lessons learned from the disciplined Olympians, I like this quote from William James:
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”
Getting off to a good start and breathinglighter after a restful weekend, Debra