I’m a huge sports fan. Huge. It’s my biggest passion. Because I love sports so much, I come in contact with a lot of other die hard sports fans. And, for some strange reason, many of these die hards I spoke to (and many that I hang out with) hate the Olympics. They don’t consider it sports (and most importantly, it keeps their parents up so they can’t watch and do what they want to do). Well, I disagree. I love the Olympics. I love it not only for the sports, but also for the drama. Why watch Grey’s Anatomy when I could get real life drama narrated by Bob Costas? So, as an ode to my love for the Olympics, I present to you my most important moments and stories from the Olympics.
1. Michael Phelps
Clearly this guy was THE story. Incredible. He created a swimming and Michael Phelps phenomenon. Everybody, no matter where they were put down everything they were doing and just watched this 23-year-old shine. But what really stood out to me, besides the 8 medals with two of them being photo finishes, was that he was so humble. He was always so appreciative of his teammates. He also respected history. He was honored and humbled to be put in the same category as Mark Spitz. This guy is truly a role model for kids all over, but also professional athletes. We see too many professional athletes who think they are god’s gift to the entire world and think they can say and do whatever they want. We’ve all seen these athletes because they typically lead off Sportscenter and create the most controversy. But look at Michael Phelps. This kid was a class act, regardless of the fact that he knew that he would be coming home to hundreds of millions of dollars and beautiful women throwing themselves at him. Another thing that stood out to me was that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, multimillionaire superstar basketball players, showed up to his events and were going crazy when he won. This brings me to the second biggest story…
2. USA Men’s Basketball Redeem Team
These guys were supposed to win. They had the top talent in the world. With Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul (who was second in the NBA’s MVP voting this year), and Chris Bosh coming off the bench, to say this team was a superstar team was an understatement. However, the surprise to me, and to me the most important story, was that these players, despite wealth and superstar status, were ambassadors for the USA. Stories came out how players like Kobe Bryant interacted with athletes from other countries and how appreciative he was to represent America. Kobe and LeBron showed up to swimming events and Jason Kidd showed up to support women’s beach volleyball, among many other showings of American spirit. Also, when the US finally did win the gold they were supposed to win, the players acted like they had just won an NBA title, jumping up and down, hugging and more. They really wanted it and really acted like a team and the fact that they showed a lot of passion about winning this gold really blew me away.
3. Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin
These two ladies represented American gymnastics better than any women ever did. With Shawn and Nastia both winning golds in separate events and medaling in many others, they were quite the story. What impressed me with these two young ladies is the fact that they were always smiling (especially Shawn Johnson, who continued to smile after getting a bunch of silvers and no golds until the last event). They were just enjoying the moment. Shawn in specific made me smile because she was smiling and always had a huge smile, no matter what. Also, they were both very well spoken and appreciated the spotlight. It just looked like they were having a great time.
I think the keyword for all of the American athletes this Summer Olympics was appreciative. They all represented America with such class and dignity that it made me proud to be an American.