Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Games We Play

I love the Olympics. I always have. Each time they roll around – whether it’s the Winter or the Summer Games, I look forward to them. I can easily get sucked in to viewing sports that I’ve never even heard of before. Skeleton? Sure! The Nordic Combined? Heck, yes!

I grew up on figure skates, so skating has always been my Olympic sport of choice, but really, I love it all.

When it comes to the topic of the Olympics, I know there are naysayers – especially about the figure skating! (“It’s not a sport – it’s a performance!” “The costumes are ridiculous!”)

But I don’t care.

There has been a lot criticism about the 2010 Games in the media. Some of it, like complaints about technical issues, and costs, are valid. But other comments are just plain mean-spirited, like this one from the Russian newspaper Pravda: “Vancouver is not fit to hold the Winter Olympics. It is a surprise that any Russian athlete would wish to remain in that sort of environment for a second longer.”

Frankly, I’m not interested in political battles and cynicism. I’m interested in the athletes – in their abilities, in their stories, and in their achievements.

Sadly, one athlete was killed on the first day of the Games. And a top-ranked figure skated unexpectedly lost her mother. These events are tragic, and sadly, in life, tragedies occur.

But I am inspired by Joannie Rochette and the athletes from Georgia and their desire to go on. Because to me, the Olympics are truly about the triumph of the human spirit. It is about people doing their very best, despite enormous pressures, and sometimes under adverse circumstances.

In the two weeks of the Games, you get an inside look at the lives of Olympians and all that they have had to overcome in order to stand on the world stage, representing their countries. You learn about what it takes to be the best in the world at something.

The Olympics are a microcosm for all of human experience – there is failure and there is success; there is tragedy and there is glory. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. How could anyone not find this kind of drama compelling?

The Olympics – it’s the best reality TV out there.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Olympics so much. I can't imagine the focus and dedication you would have to have to attain a position as the best at something. I find that my most famous skill is getting dinner ready just in time for us to leave. You know. So we smell it on the way out the door. It's a skill.

    The only time I have ever care about the politics is when the games were held in China. However, at the end of the day, I could not boycott any part of it without feeling like I was stealing from all of those athletes the attention they so deserve and don't get on a daily basis. I guess I can relate to that as a mother:)