I love the Olympics. LOVE. I'm not into sports, but the Olympics take me by storm and make me wanna hug complete strangers. I'm sure some of it is the overly emotional TV coverage, the heartfelt stories of the competitors and the heady music, but man, the games always get me. I find myself rooting for the underdog, the reigning champion and the surprise outta no where. Something about how these kids are competing with their whole hearts, makes me want to try better at what I love to do.
I remember falling in love with the Olympics in 1976 when Nadia Comaneci took the world by storm at the age of 14 and won 3 gold medals in Gymanstics after getting perfect marks.
I remember when the Olympics were in Los Angels in 1984, my sister (and our high school band) performed at some of the cermonies, and I got to watch the torch, that glowing symbol of warmth and eternal youth, go by with my G'ma. So much greatness, so close to home.
I remember in 1994 watching Oksana Baiul win a gold medal in women's figure skating while I waited tables, telling customers they'd have to wait till the long program was over, and then (and ONLY then would I bring them another beer).
I was fascinated along with the entire world when Michael Phelps seemed to defy reality and win more gold medals than anyone under the sun.
And just like everyone else watching the games this year, I'm shocked and saddened by the death of luger Nodar Kumaritashivili today, as the games are just opening. So young, with so much potential.
I could tell you countless stories of athletes and olympians who have inspired me, touched me and filled me with awe and pride. But I can't cause the games are on.