The Olympics

There’s something about the Olympic Games. I can remember that I started watching it on TV. The program was the Wide World of Sports and started off with a ski jumper falling at the end of the jump. It spoke of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I had no idea that I would still be watching the games even in my senior years. I think the feeling of hope and excitement of the moment are the keys that keep me watching the games. The winner Olympic Games introduced me to sport like hurling, figure skating and short track ice racing. In the beginning I was transfixed by watching the people figure skating. And I also think it was the excitement of the announcer, Jim McKay that got me excited. There was the bobsled racing, from a single person to four people. I like cars, particularly fast cars. But the bobsled looked really exciting to me. I soon found the excitement of watching the downhill racers. Then  I watched the mogul runs and half pipe. No matter what the event it seemed like all the participants were young, strong and good-looking. There are times you could find yourself rooting for other countries participants. It seems like the Olympic Games are the closest thing to the wish of peace on earth. There is a medal winner and just participants who excite the viewer. No matter what, they all seem to have a great time and they all seem to get along. I think that the United States made a mistake in the 1980s boycotting of the Olympic Games.

The venues that the games are played on are absolutely beautiful. It is amazing how many billions of dollars a country will spend to host the games. No matter where the games are hosted the country will always show off the venue that the Olympic Games were played at. For example, look at the Coliseum in Los Angeles California. Even today it is a beautiful site and the people that work there still remind you of the Olympics that were played there.

There is a part of me that questions the amount of money spent on the Olympics. Especially when people in the world do not have enough to eat. That part of my brain says why we don’t use that money to help those people. I’m not talking about just people in other countries; I’m talking about people in the United States that need help. But then there’s the other side of my brain who says to me the Olympics is worth it. Watching the Olympics always fills me full of hope and usually gets me outside trying to stay in shape. Of course that is if I was in shape in the first place. I still get excited watching the individual events and I still root for USA, but I also root for other countries participants. I guess the Olympics are to me are like a night out or going on vacation. The world needs a night out. It’s a beautiful venue filled with beautiful people who compete and live together in harmony. There are so many individual stories among the participants that just following the stories make you feel good to be alive. Even in the early years while watching the Winter Olympics I found myself rooting for USA and also rooting for a Russian skater. At that time the Russians were our mortal enemy. That seemed to disappear in the glow of the light of the Olympic torch.

This year’s opening ceremony was truly an amazing sight. I can remember just getting excited by the march of the nations as they entered the stadium. There was usually some sort of cultural dancing and history from the host nation. In the last few Olympics the opening ceremonies were quite the spectacle. Of course each host nation wants to tell a story. And I find it interesting to see their history through their eyes. Russia is a nation with a very long history. For so many years, Russia seemed to be an enemy, except during the Olympics Games. They were just young people trying to win a medal like every other country. I know that after the Olympics the politics will continue, the fighting will continue. The Olympics offer us a night out, a week of fun. It’s like a vacation that has been planned and earned. For that short time the Olympic Games are played and life seems a little more positive. Hope burns a little bit brighter. I will continue to chant go USA. But I also have root for those participants who are not from the USA and are living the Olympic dream.

I know that television deserves a big thank you for bringing the games to my living room. And programs like the Wide World of Sports open my mind to the many different disciplines and sports. I know that every year there is a medal count. And it’s nice to know that one of my fellow Americans compete and win. But I find that I’m just as happy no matter what the medal count is. I enjoy watching the games and a part of me is there on the slopes enjoying the peace and harmony of the Olympic Games. I know that there are a lot of people that put the games on and they work very hard. And I thank them for their work. But I think they work very hard so I don’t have to think about all the details and I can just enjoy the games.



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