Either way, I heart them. A lot.
I love the spirit of camaraderie and unity and hope that brings so many nations together for one purpose. (Well, okay competition isn't exactly a unifying experience but the gathering is still incredible.) And I love that we as spectators can gather all around the world as well, watching and experiencing the same things at the same time, commiserating with each other over the losses and exulting together in the wins. There's just something powerful in having that much energy concentrated in one direction.
I'm a bigger fan of the sporting events of the winter games though I have been known to get a bit riled watching the swimming and gymnastics. But I think my favorite moments are the opening and closing ceremonies. They epitomize those unifying emotions when so much is focused on the gathering as a whole, the celebration and anticipation, the memories and the honors.
Ten years ago I was able to participate as a volunteer in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and it was amazing. It was shortly after 9-11 and security was a huge issue as everyone was still a little unsure of how to deal with the masses of people in so many places and the general anxiety of the aftermath was still fresh in everyone's minds. There was an air of hesitancy and unease everywhere but as things got underway those pervading fears were replaced by hope, power, triumph and love. The valley was awash in energy and goodwill and while there were the usual scandals and brouhahas the overall feeling was a positive one. And it was such an incredible experience to be in the middle of it all; memories to last a lifetime.
And get to I relive them just a little every two years when I hear the opening strains of the Olympic anthem, see the rings emblazoned everywhere, and get caught up in cheering for my favorite athletes.
And let's just throw out a love note to the host city while we're at it. How can you not love London? I think it's time to plan another trip to visit...
|St. Paul's Cathedral|
Did you watch the opening ceremonies? Anything that can bring together James Bond, the Queen, Mr. Bean, Voldemort, Kenneth Branagh and Paul McCartney is brilliant in my book. Go to NBC's all Olympic page to see clips and catch up on all your favorite sports. You can also see further Olympic festiveness here. Now I must off, there's some drooling over Ryan Lochte to do!
USA! USA! USA!