“They pulled it off.”
Veteran sports anchor Al Michaels had that to say as the Sochi Olympic games came to glorious end last night. Yes, they did, despite so much skepticism. Not only did the Russians pull it off, they left the games with more medals than any other participating nation. The U.S. finished second and had a successful medal haul, despite disappointing games by the likes of Shaun White, men’s hockey, and women’s figure skaters.
The Closing Ceremonies also proved that Russia has a sense of humor, as it made fun of itself as shown in the above photo. As many of you recall, one of the rings did not open up during the games’ Opening Ceremonies, so in an effort to “make a funny,” dancers did the same thing during last night’s ceremonies. Loved it.
I love the Olympics. I love the competition, the history, the fashion, the stars in the making, and the pageantry. I watched almost every night of the Sochi games and will miss doing so now that they are over. What is it about the games that hooks me every four years? So many things.
There’s nothing like seeing an American awarded a gold medal, stand on the podium, and tear up as the national anthem is played. It never gets old. Then there’s the Olympic theme music. Who doesn’t twinge with excitement hearing the initial drum “dum, dum, dum dum dum” followed by those horns?
I’ve always loved the Olympics. I vividly remember Nadia Comaneci, Torville and Dean, Mary Decker Slaney, the Mahre brothers, Katarina Witt, Mary Lou and Kerry Strug, Dan Jansen, Mark Spitz, Tonya and Nancy, Florence Griffith Joyner, Greg Louganis, Mia Hamm, Olga Korbut, and Bruce Jenner long before he became a Kardashian. I’m a patriotic gal and the Olympics brings out the best in all things patriotic…and sometimes the worst.
Who remembers the old days of rooting hard against the East German swimmers and Soviet pairs skaters? It’s just not the same rooting against Australian swimmers and Canadian figure skaters. There’s a reason the “Miracle on Ice” is still, to this day, one of sport’s most beloved moments. Would it have been the same if we had beaten Norway? Probably not. Many even forget the game was not a medal game. It was merely and nearly more important than a medal.
I’ve always believed finishing fourth in the Olympics is the worst. I’d rather finish 12th than fourth. Just think, in fourth position you were maybe one-one-hundredths of a second away from winning an Olympic medal or maybe a clean landed triple axel. THAT much. Yep, I feel for Gracie Gold right now.
Something else that’s changed is the fact that Summer and Winter games are now held in different years, meaning one or the other is staged every other year. It used to be you had to wait four long years for both. I tend to like the winter Olympics more for some reason, although I do love gymnastics and swimming. I’m just not a big track and field fan so the second week of Summer games is never one I look forward to watching every night. Still, I tune in and I cheer.
The Sochi games were special to me for another reason: I have a longstanding fascination with Russia. As I’ve blogged before and as my friends and family are aware of, I studied Russia a bit in college, I often have Russian-themed dreams and coincidences, and visiting the country is near the top of my Bucket List. Someday I say. Someday.
I would also love to attend the Olympics themselves, although I think the odds of me going to Russia are higher than those of me witnessing the Olympics in person. I’d like to also add that I am thrilled the 2014 Olympic winter games went off without a hitch and free of any feared terrorism, gay rights demonstrations, or any other distractions. If for only a few days of sun and snow, the world seemed like a better, happier place. A place where politics slept and cultures mixed. As NBC’s Chris Collinsworth said as the Closing Ceremonies wrapped up, “The world has shrunk, just a little bit.”
Thank you Olympians. You made us proud. See you in two years.