12 August 2008

The other thing about the Olympics

The depth of my memory is reminding me how old I am this time around.

I remember my heart stopping when Greg Louganis hit his head during a dive. How skinny and young all the foreign divers were in comparison. How Louganis won the gold despite his injury, ripping through the water with a seemingly impossible lack of splash. That was 20 years ago, and I was already a teenager.

When the commentators reel off names of prominent athletes from past Olympics for comparisons, I find I know them all: accumulated knowledge. Playing Trivial Pursuit with adults when I was a kid, I never could understand how they knew so many unrelated facts and names. I get it now.

Then there's the athletes that are around my age, several competing in their 3rd Olympics, who make me ask myself what I've been doing all this time. The 33 year old female gymnast competing for Germany, in particular, blows me away. That anyone could still be that flexible, capable of sticking a landing after launching herself off a vault in a sport dominated by teenagers amazes me. Also Dara Torres at 41 swimming some of the fastest races of her life, fast enough to medal at her 5th Olympics. They're showing it can be done. I'm both inspired and dismayed.

What's my excuse after all? I'm not saying that I dreamed of being a pro athlete; I didn't. It's just one of the things in the realm of "you can do anything" that I'd dismissed some years ago for no better reason than my age. Gets me pondering what else I might have given up prematurely.

Two years ago on TTaT: One book


  1. There is something so awe-inspiring for me about the Olympics. I'm so jazzed about the swimmers this year. In a small way I live out a fantasy of being a competitive swimmer that I had as a kid. It's so awesome to see these athletes achieve their goals.

  2. The swimmers have been a lot of fun to watch. Did you see the men's 4x100 relay? That was just crazy. I love the underwater footage and all the different camera angles they have for the events these days.