Olympic Wrap Up

Can I just say how much I love the Olympics? Back in the day of the VCR, I would record hours of sport. No human interest feature was to be missed. And after all was said and done, I would go back and edit highlight tapes. I was committed 🙂

It makes me a bit sad watching Olympics these days. There are far fewer athlete features, far less coverage of non-marquis events, and even less of athletes that don’t wear the stars n’stripes. But I still managed to enjoy what was covered. And I look forward to 2014 in Sochi and 2016 in Rio.

One of my favorite parts of the Games is learning all the athletes fun names. Here are my tops from this summers Olympics:

1. Ranomi Kromowdijojo – the Dutch swimmer
2. Christine Ohuruogu – British runner
3. Blessing Okagbare – Nigerian runner
4. Tirunesh Dibaba – Ethiopian distance runner

And here are my top ten favorite moments from the 2012 London Games:

1. Oscar Pistorius, the South African “blade runner.” I think it is awesome that a man who has what the world would call a “disability” was willing to fight for the right to run, and then brought his A game and showed everyone who is challenged that with the right attitude and perseverance, anything is possible! He didn’t need to win. (And props to Kirani James of Grenada, who went on to win the gold, for trading name tags after the semi-final heat he ran with Pistorius. It was cool to see other athletes recognizing the importance of the moment.)

2. Gotta go with Michael Phelps – it is crazy unbelievable to think that in 4 Olympics, he has missed the podium in only 2 of 24 events, and has 18 golds, and 22 medals, and so many others firsts and records. Truly amazing!

3. In spite of the controversy, I was glad to see Tahmina Kohistani of Afghanistan competing in the 100M track race and Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani of Saudi Arabia competing in judo. Did they stand a chance? No. Were they props for the IOC and their regimes/governments? Sure. But they were also brave young women, who put themselves out there to say to their fellow country men, and women, that a woman can compete in sport and honor their faith and country. It may only be a small step forward, but forward is forward. Here is hoping that next time they will be better funded, and better prepared, and celebrated by their countries for real.

4. I’m going to give a shout out to the whole US women’s swim team. I love Missy Franklin and her parents, and how level headed she is, and that she swims for her high school swim team. And I love 15 year-old Katie Ledecky and Rebecca Soni. I love that these women/girls are all smiles and that they are encouraging one another.

5. And ditto that sentiment to the “Fab 5” gymnasts, especially Gabby Douglas. It was so neat to see Alex Raisman building Douglas up in the team event then going head to head and watching her younger teammate rock it, winning gold. (Loved the retrospectives of the Magnificent 7 that our win inspired as well.)

6. Liu Xiang, the Chinese hurdler who injured his achilles tendon at the Beijing Games and reinjured it in London at the outset of his race. It was heart breaking to see him hopping up the side of the track to the finish line, and heart warming to see his fellow athletes meet him there and help him across. Like the story of Oscar Pistorius, I think this sort of sportsmanship is what the games are really all about.

7. Andy Murray winning gold, decisively, a month after losing to Roger Federer at Wimbeldon. It was so nice to see him finally win the big match, and though it isn’t a major, it is in many ways a super-major. Go Andy, go!

8. Usain Bolt, who rocked out his races. But what I loved most was when he stopped doing a live interview to listen as a medal ceremony was going on in the background. He thought it was disrespectful to conduct the interview while someones flag was being raised and the anthem was being played. Class act.

9. Pandelela Rinong Pamg, the Malaysian 10m platform diver won the first medal for a woman from Malaysia. I loved her spunk and the interview she gave, in English, after winning her bronze. She was so proud to do her best and represent her country well.

10. And props go to Will, Kate, and Harry for being out and proud, even hugging in public. I have loved the British Royal Family since I was a seven year old watching Lady Di walk down the aisle to her toad, I mean Prince, with my Grandpa. This generation of royals are fun and interesting and seem to be following in Princess Diana’s footsteps, and I love that.

Well that is my Olympic wrap up. Who were your favorite athletes? What were your favorite moments?

5 thoughts on “Olympic Wrap Up

  1. Andrea August 12, 2012 / 4:37 pm

    The Andy Murray win was by far my favorite moment. It was heartbreaking to watch him loose last month, so this was a win to savor. And he had always been a class act, so to see him win before a “home crowd” was incredible. Gracious in defeat, gracious in victory, that is what the Olympics are all about.

  2. Mom August 12, 2012 / 4:40 pm

    My goodness!! And, such a lengthy wrap up this is 😊. Must be Sir James was taking an extended nap today!!! And, it is indeed impressive that you have included so many athletes “challenging” names. Far be it from me — or probably most of us — to challenge you on the spellings!! Well done, well said. It hardly seems possible the games are over once again. It was FUN watching TV for a change.

    • Eileen August 12, 2012 / 4:47 pm

      Mom, (1) I have been drafting this email throughout the Games, so adding a bit everyday, and (2) I googled the event information and cut and pasted the names – do you seriously think I could spell them without the interwebs?

  3. maryann August 12, 2012 / 7:22 pm

    Eileen, I enjoyed your Olympic post very, very much. I haven’t watched enough to make an intelligent comment – but a few things come to mind.

    I, too, miss those personal pieces that were done about the athletes years ago- you felt like you knew them and the culture that made them what they became. About the time you were born (good grief, I’m old) I remember the games in Sapporo Japan – I learned so much about the country and the people.

    Very true about the interesting names – I feel like an expert, having had a sort of unusual one for many years. I love hearing those names and when they’ve won a medal or two, how easily they flow from the commentators’ tongues.

    The capacity of the human body never ceases to amaze me. I watched the womens’ marathon and as they crossed the finish line , certainly exhausted, but still running, I remembered some years past, a woman dragging to the finish, crawling and soiled. Amazing what training and science has done. And what next?!

  4. Common Loon August 12, 2012 / 10:12 pm

    You’ve picked a good list! To your #5 I would add watching the Raisman’s watch their daughter compete. I feel bad that video got soooooo much exposure, but it captures the years of prep and stress and excitement and and and for the families that love their athletes.

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