So the Olympics officially kick off today. And as I am living in China I would love to say that I am stoked about it but the truth of the matter is that I don't really care. I love watching gymnastics as much as the next guy but I don't even have an antenna let alone cable TV. If I find the time I might run off to Beijing to see what the city is like full of tourists, athletes, and media. The club scene will probably be off the hook. So as I have nothing constructive to say about the Olymipcs I am lining to a post from Devine Caroline. These 5 Awesome Olympic Moments are worth the effort of watching to get into that whole Olympic spirit. Its not about Free Tibet or Human Rights in China. Its about sports and evolution!
Five Unbelievable Olympic Moments
I’ve got somewhat sadistic tendencies when it comes to sports; for me, it’s all about the agony and the ecstasy—the greater the athletes’ agony, the greater my ecstasy. Maybe I’ve listened to too many power anthems and watched too many Rocky movies, but I want to watch the greatest of the great athletes stumble, fall, and maybe even bust a gut, only to find an inner strength to overcome and triumph—all so that I can have a good cry. There’s no doubt that there will be drama at the Beijing Olympics, but I’m hoping for gory—ahem, I mean glory, too. Athletes will push themselves—and each other—and hopefully, some will fall down, only to rise up stronger than ever. Until then, I’m warming up my adrenal glands with a few of my personal favorite Olympic moments, moments that have less to do with gold, and more to do with blood, sweat, and tears … and heart.
Derek Redmond didn’t win a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He didn’t set any records either, but he finished his race (which is more than I can usually say). Favored for gold in the 400-meter relay, Redmond pulled a hamstring 150 meters into his race and fell to the ground in pain. In a moment that seemed scripted for television (actually, it’s now a Visa commercial) Redmond, down but not out (cue Rocky music), pulled himself to his feet to continue his race. As he cried and limped the 150 yards to the finish line, his father ran out onto the track to help. Arm in arm, they crossed the finish line together. Sniffle, it was quintessential Olympic spirit, quintessential father-son. Sob, gets me every time…
2002, Salt Lake City
One of my favorite Olympic moments is not so much a tearjerker, but a jaw-dropper. When Steven Bradbury took the gold in the men’s short track 1000-meter event at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games, everything changed for me. Up to then, I thought I had to all out kill myself to be a winner, when really—as Bradbury illustrated at the Games—it all comes down to luck. In the quarterfinals, Bradbury finished third (only the top two advance), but he was allowed to advance by a fluke when another competitor was disqualified. In the semi-finals, Bradbury was in last place, when three of the other competitors crashed into each other, allowing him to take second place. In the final, Bradbury was trailing, when unbelievably, all four of Bradbury’s competitors crashed at the final corner, leaving a shocked Bradbury to accept the gold medal. I’m not even bothering to train to win next year’s New York City Marathon on the strength of this …
Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding
When I watch the Olympics, I feel inspired, happy, patriotic, and then I feel like an underachiever sitting on my couch watching other people succeed and exceed their wildest dreams. Maybe that’s why I enjoy a good Olympic scandal as much as any touching moment. I’ll never forget the shock and drama surrounding the 1994 attack on Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan. Only one month before the games in Lillehammer, she was struck in the knee in what at first appeared to be a random act of violence, but later turned out to be a vicious conspiracy involving her chief skating rival Tonya Harding. Kerrigan recovered in time to compete against Harding in the Winter Olympics where Kerrigan won a silver medal. Harding finished eighth and was later banned for life from participating in events or coaching.
The USA Hockey Team
1980, Lake Placid
Forget Rocky, The Karate Kid, and Chariots of Fire, when I need an adrenaline rush, I watch clips from the U.S. team of amateur and college players defeated the Soviet Union—considered at the time to be the best international hockey team in the world. It was classic untamed underdog glory.
The Beijing Olympics will no doubt give us more awe-inspiring, tear-jerking, scandal-creating, unbelievable moments, and I’m looking forward to every single one. Let the games begin.