Such athletic prowess! Amazing focus and determination! You just know each athlete had no problem passing their 6th grade Presidential Fitness Exams, probably preferring pull-ups over the flexed-arm hang. But I still don't know what impressed me most - the Olympic events or all the happenings surrounding the Olympic events?
So much went on, all at once. Incredible footage - high-tech and fancy. And the back-stories alone were captivating, which were like, "And so-and-so athlete, born with such-and-such disease, grew up in 14 different foster homes, a Harvard graduate and professional violinist, mother of two adopted children from Haiti, winner of four gold and three silver medals, likes banana bread, and enjoys walks on the beach."
And at this point my paranoia usually kicked in, as if the Olympic commentators pointed in my direction, saying, "And what did you do today, Molly?" (On a side note... is it just me, or did the commentators sometimes stand too close - kissing close - when reporting on stuff together?)
At any rate, I don't remember such detailed coverage during the 1984 Olympics, held here in Southern California. But then again, my 11-year-old brain seemed to only latch onto the promotional stuff at Mcdonald's, frizzy-perm-haired athletes, and perfecting Nadia Comaneci's cartwheels in my backyard.
And going way back, I wonder what type of coverage the 1924 Olympics had? What was the buzz, the hype? Did parents of athletes twitch, cringe, and duck in the stands? Was Béla Károlyi coaching gymnastics even back then? Was there a Ryan Lochte sensation?
I do know, however, that there was a 400 meter gold medalist, Eric Liddell - whose life was portrayed in the Oscar-Winning film, Chariots of Fire. As the story goes, his sister got upset at him once for missing a prayer meeting because of his running. And he reacted by saying, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure."
Chills. That's what I get when I let my mind just sit on that quote. So much grace and gratitude and joy and confidence and God-honoring in that one statement of faith. Yet to-the-point and practical. God made him super fast. Eric Liddel knew it. And he felt God's pleasure because of it.
But as I wait four, long years for the next Summer Games (when I'll be 10-years-old in Olympic years), my mind will be thinking about a few other things, such as: What's with the "muscle taping" patterns? Who was in charge of creating the 2012 logo? What kind of name is Destinee Hooker? Why do swimmers spit in the pool? Shouldn't they have skipped the whole Roman numeral thing - "XXX" - this year? And my forever question, why isn't step aerobics an Olympic sport?