Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

The Olympics Are Coming!

Well, actually, they are already here.  Today is the official start of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games!  I love the Olympics!  I have for as long as I can remember.  What’s not to love?  Ordinary people being extraordinary athletes, inspiring viewers world-wide once every four years (well, two really since the Winter and Summer Games alternate every 2 years) is about as exciting as it gets.  It’s been a life-long dream of mine to get to participate as a spectator or a volunteer (not as an athlete because I know I’m not that awesome).

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

I find so much inspiration in Olympic athletes.  Apolo Anton Ohno is partly responsible for my starting to run.  Four years ago, I was preparing to do my first 5k.  I remember Ohno saying in an interview how much he enjoys training for the Olympics because every day it gives him the opportunity to be his best.  I carried those thoughts with me in the days leading up to my 5k, and those thoughts helped me finish.

Without fail, great stories always come out of the Olympics.  I’m pretty sure Mary Lou Retton was my first hero when she became the first American gymnast to win all-around gold in 1984 with her perfect 10 on the vault.  Who can ever forget the 1980 US men’s hockey team’s victory over the Soviet Union to win gold?  I’ve sat on the edge of my seat more than once or twice every four years as I’ve cheered for winter athletes and held my breath, almost willing them to win.  Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn have all been athletes whose victories I’ve shed a tear or two for.  Then there are the ones who have fallen short but are no less inspiring.  We all were behind Nancy Kerrigan as she came back from injuries sustained from an attack.  Her silver medal was nothing short of amazing considering the circumstances.  I followed Michelle Kwan throughout her entire competitive skating career as she became the most decorated woman in US skating history but never could land Olympic gold.  I also can’t forget Bode Miller’s first Olympic attempt.  He was to be THE athlete of the games.  The question wasn’t will he win gold, but how many?  The answer turned out to be zero as he was a complete flop.  I recall an interview with him toward the end of the games in which he said he did what he came to do, which was have fun and “mingle on an Olympic level.”  He redeemed himself four years later, though.

I love the stories of the games.  The dedication of these athletes and their families is inspiring and amazing.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to spend every ounce of your existence working toward something and finally see it come to fruition.  At the same time, for every athlete whose story we learn, there are dozens of athletes who were just as dedicated, whose families sacrificed just as much, yet who didn’t make it.  I think about them, too.  I think about what it must feel like to sit at home, watching people you know and have competed against live out your dream.  How do you ever move forward from that?  I’d love to hear their stories, too.

In just a few days, the Sochi games will be well under way.  New athletes will become household names.  New stories will unfold.  The feelings they will invoke in me will be the same.  So, let the games begin!  I’ll be watching!

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on NBC

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on NBC

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