I will shamefully admit that I have never been one to really get into all of the hype surrounding the Olympics.
As a child, teenager and college student, I would check the results and see who was winning the most hardware. I could tell you about Michael Phelps, Apollo Ono, Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas and the many polarizing athletes whose careers blossom in front of the entire world. Sure, I can give you that much.
There were just very few events I would watch religiously. I followed the United States in soccer. My attention span pretty much drew a line there.
However, something changed this year. Maybe it is because I am an adult and a lot of my free time is spent lounging on my couch with my wife. On Sunday, she and I spent about six hours glued to the television screen. I witnessed triumphs, tragedy and genuine sportsmanship.
I fully expect to spend most of our free time doing much of the same while the summer games are happening.
Of course, I would love to see the United States take home most of the hardware. But more importantly, I just want to be entertained. Sunday, the Olympics certainly did that.
I do want to take a second to wish the best to Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vlueten who suffered a horrible crash during her race. She was running away with the race when she lost control of her bicycle and toppled over the handlebars onto the curb. It was not pretty. She was knocked unconscious for quite a while. Fortunately, she is still alive. Unfortunately, it was reported that she suffered several spinal fractures. I send my thoughts out to her and hope she is able to make a full recovery.
I feel like a total dick talking about the rest of the race, but it was a good one.
The crash helped US cyclist Mara Abbot take the lead by a margin of 30 seconds with less than 10 kilometers to go. She was being trailed by Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands, Emma Johanss0n of Sweden and Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy. In the last two kilometers of the race, Abbot lost her steam and the three of them passed her up in the final kilometer to all claim medals, while the US fell short. Even though my home country fell short, the race was such an exciting finish. That is what I want to see…excitement.
After the race, gold medalist van der Breggen was clearly shaken up after seeing her teammate down and out. What I saw next was more humanity and humility than I have seen in our national media in the last year. Johansson and Borghini consoled the woman who just defeated them and made sure she was ok before the three of them accepted their medals.
The sportsmanship and respect didn’t stop there…
100 Meter Breaststroke
British swimmer and heavy favorite Adam Peaty broke a world record he previously set for the event and became the first person to win the gold for his respective country in this olympics. One lane over was American swimmer Cody Miller. Miller was described as an underdog because he is only 5’11, which is short for a swimmer. He also has a condition called Pectus Excavatum, which decreases lung capacity. Something that is kind of important in swimming.
After the race was over, you could hear Miller screaming for joy when he saw he won the bronze. Peaty was also celebrating, but you would have never guessed because of Miller. He made Peaty’s celebrating look like child’s play. The two met in the middle, shook hands and celebrated their victories together.
Following the race, both were interviewed and sung each other’s praises, which was pretty fucking awesome to see. I commend both of them for showing that kind of respect and dignity because it was genuine. It wasn’t the fake handshake you see at the end of an NFL or NBA game.
Katie Freaking Ledecky
Oh my God, what an athlete! If you didn’t watch Katie Ledecky swim, you missed out and I feel sorry for you. My wife and I just watched in awe as she torched her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle. She finished nearly two seconds faster than her previous record. Oh and the person behind her finished 4.77 seconds later. For good measure, that is more than one second faster than the margin of victory in the last six Olympics COMBINED in this particular event!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! This girl is celebrating before anyone is even within one stroke of the wall. Get bent.
Michael Phelps Racks in another Gold Medal
After having a sour taste from 2012, Phelps returned to help the US capture gold in the 4×100 relay and he delivered in a big way. Phelps swam second in the relay. For those who watched, did he make the biggest turn ever or what!? Good lord! On the second lap, he really pulled away to help secure a nice lead for Ryan Held, who maintained. Then Nathan Adrien capped it off for the win. This marks Phelps’ 19th gold medal and 23rd medal overall.
The pop Phelps got upon diving in the water was awesome. He really is a larger than life athlete and arguably the greatest Olympian ever.
The Olympics are awesome and I am a stupid idiot for thinking otherwise in my younger years.