This past week was the first official week of school, which typically means I’m worn out and in bed by 9:30 pm. So why this week could you find me glued to the television at 11:00 or later? It’s simple: The Olympics.
If you know me, you know that every two years when the Olympics roll around, I am hooked. I don’t discriminate–winter, summer, I love them both! I would stay at home all day with my TV tuned to Olympic coverage if I could. If you need further proof, here’s photo evidence of my love for the Olympics.
Vancouver, 2010: My college roommate and I posted a medal count on our door.
London, 2012: I baked cookies shaped like the Olympic rings and the US/UK flags. They tasted gross, but they sure were patriotic.
You get the point. I love the Olympics! So this year, since I have a platform from which to post my thoughts, I thought I’d share with you why I love the Olympics so much. And since today is Sunday, I figured I’d share them Southern-Baptist style. So if you’re taking notes, here are three alliterative reasons why I love the Olympics.
1. I Love the Spectacle
From beginning to end, the Olympics are a big event. Each broadcast starts with an overpowering theme song–John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme.” That song clues you in right away that you’re watching something special. I mean, how can you not get excited listening to this?
The games themselves start with an elaborate opening ceremony that shows the host country’s history, culture, and personality. The athletes parade in with their nation’s flag, and a giant torch is lit that remains lit throughout the entire event. It’s always fun to watch how the host nation attempts to create a unique and symbolic experience for the athletes.
Then there are the medal ceremonies. No matter how many times America wins gold, it’s exciting to see our athletes’ reactions when they stand on top of the podium. I’m not sure how they don’t all cry–because I get a little misty just watching them.
2. I Love the Surprise
The Olympics are full of sports that, on any other normal day, I wouldn’t care much about. But because of the giant setting, the importance of each competition, and the dedication and discipline of the athletes, the surprise victories make even the lesser-known sports more important and exciting.
3. I Love the Stories
My favorite part of the Olympics, however, is following the human interest stories behind all of the athletes. From Michael Phelps to Simone Biles and everyone in between, each athlete takes a different path to get to the Olympics, but they all share the same love for their sports, discipline in their training, and excitement to compete on a global stage.
As a reader and writer, the stories are my favorite part, mainly because they often include so much triumph over difficult situations. Just as the Olympics celebrate the diversity of our world, they also celebrate humanity’s internal desire to triumph over the bad and rise to meet the challenges before us. I love that in a country torn apart by just about every divide you can think of, we all can come together and agree that watching our swimmers and our gymnasts–not to mention our marathon runners and shot-putters and equestrians–is something special.
So, if you’re an Olympic junkie like me, and you’re looking for something to help you cope with their eventual end, let me recommend a book to you–it’s one I’ve spoken of often, and I know I’ll mention it again. The Boys in the Boat tells the story of the 1936 Men’s Olympic Rowing Team. It has spectacle, surprise, and a heartwarming story all wrapped up in one. I’ve never read a nonfiction book that drew me in and left me so emotional. I can’t think of a better read if you want to celebrate the spirit of the Olympics after Rio is over.
Do you love the Olympics? What are your favorite sports to watch? Do you already have a countdown going for the next Winter Olympics? Let me know in the comments below!
Sarah (The Olympic Junkie)