Summer Olympics… Inspiring

The opening ceremonies were full of tradition and surprises… Countryside scenes, traditional, historical music, British humor, British legends, and Royals. I thought the filmed scenes of the queen with the James Bond character was sensational. What fun and whimsy! Good for her to allow that and be part of a fun joke at her royal highness’ expense! Good show! Thank you Danny Boyle and England!

London is a fabulous city. It looks as though it was well planned. Good job! What was Mitt Romney so concerned about anyway? A city that moves people and a central location for all events. I have heard that they didn’t have the crowds of people they were hoping for. Evidently that is a recurring problem with the recent, past 10, 15 years of Olympiads. They plan for hoards of people to attend, even building new hotels and restaurants hoping for boosts in business and hiring more staff in anticipation and in the end the people stay away and the locals leave town fearing the discomfort and inconvenience. I guess now is the time to go. After the Olympics are done and everyone is leaving and the rush of the excitement is still present. Rooms are discounted and air fares are also low to encourage the end of summer travelers.

I miss the Olympics. It was great to have so many choices for entertainment in the evening. I love my Tivo and recorded the daily events and could go back to anything. The swimming and the gymnastics were exciting. The track held me amazed at the incredible feets in just second… A flash of time and records are broken. The human being at a physical peak takes their body to the edge… and then does it again…

The Beach Volley Ball….

To think that Beach Volley ball is an Olympic sport! This speaks to present times not the past. It was introduced at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, a demonstration event, and has been an official Olympic sport since 1996. We, the USA teams, have won gold in either men’s or women’s since 1996. Right on team.

I personally find the uniforms rather revealing, almost sexually exploitive for media purposes. I am sure there are those at home watching for reasons other than athletic interest now. They do look very containing, and supportive. I would say that of all the sports now. The athletic attire has become rather like extreme costuming. They were joking on TV about a man’s penis and whether he was aroused for the medal ceremony… Well so what if he was, or perhaps he just has a larger one… just like women’s breasts, they come in different sizes and shapes and these things are hard to hide in the skin tight minimal clothing specially designed for the teams… It was an exciting moment for him and with all the men and women in such evocative attire how could he help it in that moment, and with the snug fitting, form revealing uniforms how was he to hide it. Where? Really!

But then the Olympics of ancient Greece and Rome were done naked! The human body being celebrated and the athletic prowess rewarded.

Of course, I love to watch the sports that I have enjoyed doing myself. As a young girl in gymnastic class, didn’t we all imagine ourselves at the Olympics… Remembering Nadia, Kathy Rigby…

Cathy Rigby went on  to acting and you could find her guest staring in a role on a TV series for a while. Then she really blew up on stage with her teaching Peter and Wendy to FLY on Broadway in Peter Pan.

On the diving board when a child is asking her mom or brother and sister to rate their dive, we play at our own little competition with ourselves, wanting to do our best. The crazy fun I had with my sister when we would attempt the synchronized swimmers upside down movements or the apparent lack of above the water as they hold a pose gracefully never showing the manic paddling that it takes to keep a leg poised upward and then jut it up suddenly in synchronicity with others on the team. Wow! Remembering the old movies with the swimmer movie star, Esther Williams! I haven’t been to any of the Sea or Ocean amusement parks since I was young.. Oh no I forget the bay area Marine World  Africa USA in Vallejo, California. I think they call it something else now. Surely there is an ocean theme park that employs these amazing anonymous athletes that spend much of there performance time holding their breath. I am thinking in Florida.

While we play at our sports, some are taking the play seriously and making it a life passion, direction, and later profession. I do miss the days when the Olympic athletes could not be professionals. that when they would only become endorsed or advertised after they decided to leave the amateur status and that had to be a big decision whether to pursue another 4 years of intense Olympic aspiration driven training with out the financial backing of any large business. In history many Olympic athletes were working a day or night job while striving to find time to train. I am sure there are still many who do, but so many of the athletes today are supported by the sporting companies.  The rock stars of the Olympic games are able to support their training and have major contracts with their sponsors well ahead. I wonder what the past athletes would have accomplished if they were able to have an extra 3 to 4 hours in the pool, while their mother looked on, free to drive them and spectate because she didn’t have to take a job to support her gifted child’s pursuit of the coveted Gold, Silver, and Bronze. I am sure families still have a challenge to deal with the intensity and demands of supporting and encouraging the gifted athlete, but the ability to now have the financial support of commercial sponsors is powerful.

I do miss the simpler times of the amateur athlete at the Olympics. It seemed to be a more pure sense of competition. Just the athletes without the business and money behind the advertising. Many would retire from Olympic pursuits just so they could cash in while the offers were still there for them. Now we have Olympians who return for 3 even more games. Amazing that you can, but also wonderful to stand back and feel your success and open the door for others to experience the opportunity after you, the same glory.

I would list the names of all the US Olympians, but that would take more time and we know so many and we just watched them. I was amazed daily with the athletes from all over the world…. The swimmers, runners, vaulters, jumpers, racquet swinging, shot put hurling….You know who you are inspired by.

I imagine the work and skills that are developed by these athletes and in some way covet their incredible abilities… Their natural ability was a gift of birth and their dedication and perseverance to perfect their moves and pursue an excellence such that few will ever achieve at anything in life. Bravo… I admire and applaud you.

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