Friday, August 08, 2008

Another Olympics

I still have a hat from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. I remember watching Peggy Fleming skate. I remember when to black athletes bowed their heads and raised their gloved fists during the national anthem in Mexico City. I was glued to the set during the tragedy in Munich. I saw the "miracle on ice".

I saw a basketball dream team do what we had always wanted. We finally sent the best basketball players we had instead of a college all-star team and that team destroyed the competition. I remember a Brazilian basketball team member being asked what he thought about the dream team and he said he thought it was great because it would raise the level of basketball the world over and now the NBA has players from all over the world and it isn't an easy time for us anymore.

I crushed hard on Dorothy Hamill in 1976. I watched Carl Lewis dominate and then fail when he tried to repeat. I saw Mark Spitz win 7 gold medals. I saw Nadia's 10 and loved Olga's smile. I saw the favorites fall and underdogs win.

I love the Olympics but hate all the commercialism. But I understand that they could not survive without the money. I hate the U.S. network's coverage because I want to see all the winners from all over the planet not just the American winners. I love the Canadian coverage because they are on live and show more. I would LOVE a cable package where you could see coverage from even more countries.

I LOVE it when an athlete or team from a small country wins because those people are then national heroes.

In this year's opening ceremony the U.S. flag was carried by Lopez Lomong, a refugee from The Sudan.

"American people, with the great democracy they have, chose to vote for me. I don't have words for it. I'm so happy," Lomong said. "I'm so proud to be an American and raise that flag proudly."

Lomong was kidnapped at age 6 and spent 10 years in a refugee camp in Kenya before being adopted by an American family and becoming a U.S. citizen last year. The story brought tears to my eyes. The only thing better would be if he competed with a team from The Sudan and that there was peace throughout that region. But that isn't the case and I know that in his heart he runs for his people and he is already a hero to them.

There will be lots of tears during the Olympics for me. I'm just that way. I don't care who it is, but when they're on that podium and their national anthem plays I get emotional.

I love the Olympics.

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