Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Memories

Every 4 years (2 years now) growing up our family gathered in front of my grandparent's console TV to watch America's finest compete against the world for gold.

In 1976 I was 3 years old. And I sat on my Nanan's lap to watch Dorothy Hamill win figure skating gold for the USA.  That began my love affair with ice skating and lead me to take lessons and get a cute new hair cut. Also that year we sat in awe of a little girl from Romania who scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars. Nadia Comaneci inspired me to practice and practice until I mastered the summersault and the cartwheel.  Back then I had dreams of taking center ice and performing a perfect double Salchow, or scoring a perfect 10 on the balance beam and leading my team to the Women's All-Around Gold.

By the time 1980 rolled around and as a nation we cheered when the US Men took down the USSR in Hockey in Lake Placid and then we as a nation boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow I had given up my dreams of being an Olympic athlete in favor of being a teacher or a astronaut, but I never stopped loving watching the games.

In 1984 when Mary Lou Retton made history with 10s in the vault and the floor to win all-around gold by a very narrow margin I was back to wishing I could take gymnastics lessons and begged and begged my mom to let me try. Unfortunately it was not to be for me, so I just practiced my heart out in the back yard, went out for cheerleading in Jr. High and got my gymnastics fix that way.

Every year forward both the Summer and Winter games were highlight for me. I can remember with near perfection every Ladies Figure Skating Gold Medalist, and every Women's All-Around Gold Medalist from 1984 forward. I remember where I was when they won gold, who I watched the competitions with, who I was dating, and so on. That is how much of an effect the games have had on my memory.

I've laughed, cried, paced, cheered for the amazing athletes. Found favorites to follow from countries all over the world.  I love learning about the host countries and cities and seeing the kids who have worked so hard step up onto the podiums to get their medals with the national anthem of the gold medalist playing proudly. Watching the open and closing ceremonies in awe of the creativity of those who put them all together.

This year will be no different. I will watch from opening to close, laugh and cry, hope and celebrate.BUT this year will be different in one very big way. THIS year one of my Olympic Dreams comes true. THIS year I will have the blessing of watching with my children. I will be able to watch figure skating with my daughter and revel in the delight on HER face that will most assuredly mirror my own. This year I will get to watch my oldest son see his own Olympic dreams in the faces of the Alpine Skiers and the Snowboarders, now that he's gotten a taste of downhill skiing and so very much wants to learn how to snowboard. This year I will get to watch my dear 6 year old marvel at the spectacle that is Curling.   This year new Olympic memories will be made and I will enjoy each and every one of them!

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