Who’s watching the Olympics? I guess even if you’re not, it’s difficult to get away from them. Even though I’m not a huge sports fan, I’ve been glued to the tube. For me it’s not so much about the sports as it is about the tradition and sportsmanship – and the hard work and dedication it takes to get there.
I sat rapt, watching every minute of the opening ceremony. Of course, I loved Beckham, and Queen Elizabeth as a Bond girl, and watching her adorable corgis run through the halls of Buckingham Palace. Few moments compare to when Sir Paul got choked up as he led the HEY JUDE sing along. But what I loved most was the parade of nations, watching the beaming faces as the athletes marched out to represent their countries. Some nations had delegations so small you could count them on one hand – others, like the US, were hundreds strong. I read that the US Olympic committee sent 529 athletes (268 women, 261 men) to compete in 25 sports. The oldest is a 54-year-old equestrian and the youngest is a 15-year-old swimmer. Still, no matter the size of pack or the age of the athletes – or, for that matter, the sport in which they’re competing – what an honor to be in such company.
Another thing I love, which is a bit more personal, the University of Florida’s marching band is in London now. They were invited to be part of the Olympic festivities. They are the first non-British band to ever play on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. I know a handful of kids who are in the band. I couldn’t be prouder of them if they were my own. Go Gators!!
It’s early yet, but I have to say, thus far my personal heroine of the games is Jordan Wieber, the reigning gymnastics world champ. She was the heir apparent for the gold in the individual all-round gymnastics competition. On Suday, she was shut out of competing in the all-round finals because only two members from each team may advance to the finals. She came in third behind two of her teammates, losing the chance to realize her personal dream. Two days later, she put aside her personal loss and gracefully led her teammates to the gold in the team competition. In my book, she deserves a gold medal for being a wonderful, courageous role model – for all of us.
Overall, what I love most about the games is how every two years the world sets aside its differences and comes together as civilized people. As corny as it may sound, the games renew my faith in mankind.
What’s your favorite thing about the Olympics? I’ll give away advance copies of my September release TEXAS WEDDING to TWO people who post. RT BOOKclub magazine gave it a wonderful 4-star review!