Y’all! I love the Olympics. Especially the summer Olympics. And despite everything re: covid and safety issues and questionable scheduling, I’m so very happy to be watching the Olympics right now. I have so many memories from over the years, and the Games just make me happy.
I remember being a young teen and hoping that I could swim well enough to make the 2000 Olympics despite the fact that I only started swimming competitively when I was 12ish. Then, long after I gave up that dream, I wondered if one day I’d see any of my fellow swimmer teammates go on to the Olympics. (I didn’t, though ironically, when Jason and I got our will updated in 2009, our lawyer turned out to be one of those teammates!)
I remember back in the mid-90s when Dominique Dawes did those incredible floor routines where she soared so high I couldn’t believe it was possible. It was the start of non-white gymnasts on the US team, and the transition from super-young, super-thin gymnasts to powerful, muscular ones. It was also around the time when gymnasts were transitioning from all classical music dance routines to a whole variety of music. My mother hated it. I loved it.
Does anyone else remember when trampoline gymnastics were added to the games? Synchronized trampoline? Synchronized diving?
Speaking of synchronized diving, the 2004 men’s competition was awesome in an unconventional way, with the pair from Greece winning in Athens because all the divers ahead of them screwed up majorly. They weren’t expecting to win, and got so excited, running around with their flag, celebrating the unexpected. I wish I had that recorded – it’s one of my favorite moments ever in Olympic history.
The underdogs are always my favorites. I wish I saw more of them, tbh, but I know there’s a lot to cover. One of my recent favorites is Tongan athlete Pita Taufatofua, who participated in both summer and winter Olympics, the latter in skiing despite never getting onto snow until 12 weeks before the Games. These athletes are just so incredible and awe-inspiring!!!
I love watching the swimming, even the super long races that other people find boring. For years I loved watching folks try to swim the 1500-meter with Janet Evan’s world-record line nearly a lap ahead of the fastest swimmer. She held onto that record for an insane amount of time, from 1988 to 2007. She also held the 800 free for 19 years, and the 400 free for 18. That woman was a beast! And then there’s Dara Torres, who in 2008 competed in the Olympics at 41 years old! That’s incredible.
Much like Oksana Chusovitina, the 46-year-old gymnast who has competed in every single Olympics since 1992, and has qualified to compete this year as well. I saw her vaulting in 2016 and she’s just unbelievable.
Speaking of the 2016 Olympics, does anyone else remember the four chip varieties that Lays put out that summer? One of them was a Tikka Masala kettle chip, and omg that became my favorite chip of all time. I was really stressed during that Olympics, because our house was under construction and we were packing to move to Wisconsin. I have these photos of packing piles in the living room, Olympics on in the background, crochet projects on my lap. And often, though it’s not pictured, I’d have those kettle chips with my lunch. They were soooooo good and if I’d known they were being discontinued immediately after the Olympics, I would have bought up every bag I could get my hands on.
The winter 2018 Olympics got me through the grief of my grandmother’s death. The 2012 Olympics helped me to soldier through a stress-fracture and 12-week exercise ban. In our early years in Wisconsin (2001-2005), we usually didn’t have TV service, but you better believe I insisted we pay the money for two months of service for the 2004 Olympics. Then there is the way my family has bonded over the Olympics. Two of my FB posts from the 2016 Games involve my kids:
“Morrigan: Ryan Lochte’s old. He has grey hair.
Jason: He’s not old. He just dyed his hair gold for the Olympics.
Ambrose: It looks more like silver. Which is probably the medal he’ll get.” Burn! 😀
I’m not really a sports person, most of the time. I watch football with my youngest son because he loves it, and I enjoy participating in 5Ks, but I’ve never been a sports fanatic. Except for the Olympics. Last year’s delay, while understandable and necessary, was gut-wrenching. So yes, I’ll guiltily enjoy every moment of the next two weeks.
What are your favorite Olympics memories?