We’ve just spent 17 days watching the Olympics. I was pleasantly surprised how much my husband and I actually watched them because we often knew nothing about the sport or event we were watching. Yet, we stayed tuned. It’s not like we didn’t have any other choices. We’re one of those households with the 200 + stations to watch.
I was inspired by the athletes and their stories. So many of them had suffered through many trials to get to where they were. Some of them were more privileged with what you know are expensive coaches and training centers. However, they all had to practice an extreme amount of self-discipline, patience, and endurance to get to the Olympic games. You could tell how grateful some of them were just to be there and when they spoke of their parents, their coaches, or their teammates.
There was a lot of pride shown when the athletes talked about how they wanted to represent their country and win for their country. Even the multi-millionaire basketball players seemed motivated by the fact that they were Team USA.
It was wonderful that the US won so many medals. We have a lot of gifted and dedicated athletes. I thought it was fantastic when someone won a medal for a smaller country and earned what may have been the first medal that country had ever won in the games.
The opening and closing ceremonies had their great moments. I thought the opening was interesting, even if it didn’t produce the excitement that I felt from Beijing. I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the songs and artists depicted in the closing ceremonies although it seemed like most of the crowd was and they were having a great time. I did enjoy everyone singing about the “bright side of life.”
The highlight of both the opening and the closing to me has always been lighting and extinguishing the flame. It was a wonderful idea to have individual flames of the 204 countries come together to form the single cauldron that burned throughout the games. It seems like it really is like that–for at least these 17 days, the world was one–focused on the games and the athletes. Yes, there was competition but it wasn’t hatred and war. So when the flames lowered and became individual once again, I couldn’t help but think if that meant things would go back to business as usual once again. Would we return to being countries who fought each other or criticized each others’ way of life?
It is my hope that the fire stays burning. I know that the athletes are inspired and that they inspired many others during the games. I loved the very up-to-date commercials that showed athletes winning their medals and breaking world records while being watched by a younger Olympian-to-be who changed his goal that he had posted for his daily viewing. I thought it was great that Michael Phelps said that he had attained all the goals that he had set for himself in his life and now it was time to have some different ones. He knows that having a goal is so important to being motivated to achieve.
It is my hope that the fire stays burning for the world, too. Can we leave the games but take with us the spirit of friendly competition, the joy of supporting each other, and the love of a common goal? Olympians simply want to be the best that they can be at their sport. Let’s hope that inspires the world to be the best it can be.