Can all of you U.S. Baby Boomers recall hearing Jim McKay saying that like 1000 times as we grew up? It was part of the opening of the iconic U.S. TV sports program, The Wide World of Sports that aired from 1961 to 1998.
It also pretty much sums up what we’ve seen over the last nearly two weeks of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as well.
Lots of thrills in women’s gymnastics, swimming, basketball and…water polo(?) And agony in beach volleyball, soccer, tennis, and men’s gymnastics.
With live streaming and television coverage on 5 channels, I’ve watched more Olympics in the past 13 days than I’ve watch during the last four Olympics. I’m watching the crowd pleasers – gymnastics, swimming, track & field. But I’m also watching stuff like archery, rowing, track cycling, and fencing. AGMA tried to watch dressage. I fell asleep after about 30 seconds. I switched the channel to ping pong
The earliest Olympics I remember are the 1968 games in Grenoble, France. As a 14 year old, AGMA fell in love with skier Jean-Claude Killy. What 14 year old girl didn’t? And I wanted to be Peggy Fleming. Too bad I couldn’t even stand up on ice skates.
AGMA remembers feeling terrified in 1972 when 9 Israeli athletes and 2 coaches were killed by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics. But I also fell in love with the great swimmer, Mark Spitz. What 18 year old young woman didn’t? And I wanted to be Olga Korbut. Too bad that even getting close to a balance beam gave me an anxiety attack.
So many wonderful, sad, and dramatic memories of past Olympics…
- Nadai Comaneci’s perfect 10‘s in women’s gymnastics in 1976. She looked like she was 12.
- Bruce Jenner’s decathalon win in 1976…pre-Caitlin.
- Bonnie Blair’s total domination of women’s Speed Skating in 1988, 1992 & 1994
- Dorothy Hamill’s figure skating camel in 1976. And her cute haircut that I copied.
- The black power salute in 1968 by the U.S. 200 meter track gold and bronze medalists
- The Dan O’Brien/Dave Johnson Reebok-hyped decathlon rivalry that totally fizzled in 1992
- The Nancy “ouch, my knee” Kerrigan/Tonya “the hammer” Harding rivalry in 1994
- Eddie the Eagle in 1988. Brilliant!
- The Jamaican Bobsled team in 1988. Also brilliant!
- The “Miracle on Ice” U.S hockey team in 1980 defeating the entire Soviet Union. Or it seemed like it.
- Apollo Ono, the phenom with the uber cool name who made short track speed skating absurdly popular winning in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
- The secretly HIV positive Greg Louganis bleeding all over everything after hitting his head on the diving board in 1988
- The heartbreak of Dan Jansen’s first two (1988, 1992) and a half Olympics until he won his gold in his last speed skating event in 1994.
- The debut and total domination of the U.S. Basketball Dream Team in 1992
- Torvill & Dean’s Bolero in 1984. Absolute perfection.
- Kerry Shrug’s winning vault with torn ankle ligaments in 1996. That had to hurt. And Bella Karolyi carrying her to the podium afterwards.
- Dereck Redmond’s father helping his injured son cross the finish line of the men’s 400 meter track semi-final in 1992. Tear.
- The Carl Lewis/Ben Johnson track rivalry in 1984 & 1988. Too bad Johnson doped.
- The nail bomb in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta that killed one and injured 111 in 1996. No words.
- Florence Griffith Joyner’s awesome finger nails! RIP Flo-Jo…you were way too young.
- 1984, the first time I saw synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. WTF?? I’m still saying WTF.
- Shaun White’s flowing red hair as he introduced us to the halfpipe in 2006. Dude.
- Michael Phelps in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 & 2016. Is he really only 31?
One accumulates a lot of memories when one has watched 26 Olympic games.
AGMA always wanted to be an Olympian.
20 years ago, I thought I might have a good shot at curling. I thought I could be a broom person. What the heck – AGMA can sweep with the best of them…. But sweeping while standing on ice…kinda dicey.
Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. Being an Olympian ranks right up there on the unfulfilled dreams list with college football cheerleader and famous actress.
But I’m still collecting Olympic memories. And just like past Olympics, the Rio Olympics have been full of them.
- Katie Ledecky’s overpowering dominance in the pool.
- Usain Bolt’s continued superhuman performance in men’s track.
- The sparkling, flying Simone Biles and the final five.
- Lily King’s condemnation of a Russian swimmer’s past doping. Before a race with her. And then winning the gold medal when she swam against her.
- Michael Phelps #Phelpsface when South African swimmer Chad Le Clos tried to intimidate him before a semi-final heat. Then Phelps going on to win the gold in the butterfly with Le Clos finishing 4th.
- Michael Phelps. Period.
- Annemiek Van Vleute’s horrific crash in the women’s cycling road race. I thought she was dead. Her mother thought she was dead. Turns out she “just” broke her back in 3 places and got a severe concussion.
- Ryan Lockte and Co.‘s drunken debacle. Oh, so embarrassing.
- Simone Manuel’s total astonishment and joy as she looked at the scoreboard and saw that she had won the gold in the women’s 100 meter freestyle. Historic.
So as we say auf wiedershen to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad this weekend, what are your most vivid Olympic memories – past and present?
Going to an Olympics is still on AGMA’s bucket list. 2018 is in Pyeongchang. I don’t have a clue where that is – Korea maybe? 2020 is in Tokoyo. 2022 is in Bejing.
Hmmm… I’m seeing an interesting pattern here. Not sure I’ll make it over to Asia to see any of them.
The candidates for the 2024 games are Budapest, Paris, Rome and LA.
Okay – I’ll only be 70…
2024 or bust!