My love for Olympic athletes is well documented. The passion, dedication and sheer sweat it takes to make it to the highest level of athletic achievement is beyond awe inspiring. The Olympics are the only time I eagerly tune in to watch skiing, bobsledding, heck, even curling has its moments. Of course, for years I obsessed over figure skating. Back in 1992 when Kristi Yamaguchi doubled her triple salchow in her free skate, I nearly ate the throw pillow I was holding – I was that nervous for her. But this crush isn’t about the competition, oddly enough. It’s not about nail biting, or team rooting or podium standing. It’s about the one time in the Olympics when everyone is a winner, simply by being there.
The opening ceremonies have always been one of my favorite spectacles. If you weren’t blown away (and possibly a little frightened) by the near-mechanical precision displayed in the Beijing Games, then we weren’t watching the same program. But besides being a way for each country to show off, the ceremony is a celebration of hard work. Each athlete walks in having fulfilled a life’s dream. Each is an equal, each the best. No one is first, second or third. No one is a loser. Instead they’re all just together, honoring mutual dedication, excellence and achievement. I swear, each time the athletes start to walk in, I get a little choked up. Yes, I cry at the Olympics – every. single. time.
So bring on the light show, Vancouver, and show us what you’ve got, Canada. For one night, as the Olympic flame springs to life and the blazing cauldron watches over the city, everyone is a champion. Congratulations, Olympians. Happy weekend, all.
p.s. Just in case you think I’ve gone soft, I am currently accepting hottie Winter Olympic athlete suggestions for future use. I’ll near all the help I can get because it’s a lot harder to gauge under all those winter togs. So help a sister out, ladies. Sing us out, Sarah.