Thoughts on the Olympics

Friday, August 22, 2008

Very few of us will ever have the chance to win an Olympic medal whether gold, silver or bronze. Only the elite athletes get the chance to compete in the Olympics.

In watching the 2008 Summer Olympics this past week, who hasn't been impressed with Michael Phelps who swam in 17 races, including his preliminary qualifying races, to win eight gold medals in swimming? He broke the record of American swimmer Mark Spitz, who received seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics.

The Mark Spitz record stood for 36 years. Sports commentators are already trying to predict how many years the Phelps record might stand.

I enjoy watching the Olympics every four years. I probably prefer the Summer Olympics over the Winter Olympics. I admire the discipline and years of work that Olympic athletes devote to their sport.

I had a cat named Tigger one time. I was watching the Olympics on my TV which was sitting on the floor. (I think I was having a new entertainment center delivered the next day.)

Not every cat can see the images on a TV, but Tigger was one that could. He also recognized his reflection in mirrors. But he thought his reflection was another cat and he spent much of his time fighting that other cat and defending his territory.

While I was watching the Winter Olympics, Tigger was using his paws to chase the skiers across the TV screen. When he couldn't catch them on the screen, he would race around the back of the TV and try to catch them at the back of the set.

I had more fun watching the cat than the Olympics that year.

This year's Olympics has been a wonderful one for United States athletes. The swimmers for the USA and the men and women's gymnastics teams have done well. The USA leads in the number of total medals won, even though the host nation of China has won more gold medals.

The television schedule has been a little unusual since Beijing, the site of this year's Olympics, has a time zone twelve hours different from our country. Much of the action is on during the middle of the night when we usually are sleeping. I've heard several people out in town say they were worn out from staying up and watching the Olympics.

I heard on the news today that due to the success of Michael Phelps, many parents are calling to schedule swimming lessons for their children. Apparently both American children and their parents have been impressed by Phelps' success.

When I think about the many years of training and dedication by athletes in their quest to participate in the Olympics, I am very impressed. Those that succeed in winning medals deserve to win.

I love the shots that show the athlete's parents in the stands. I always wonder how much money was spent and how many hours sacrificed to give that athlete the chance to shine. Those parents helped their children to reach a dream. The Olympic dream.

So few make it to the Olympics. What a wonderful achievement, even if you don't win a medal!