2008 Olympics

With the Tour De France wrapping up I look ahead to the Olympics
Since the Summer of 1984
I have LOVED,LOVED, LOVED the Olympics

It was the summer of 1984 and my life was FOREVER changed. Mary Lou Retton tumbled over the vault and I began tumbling over the furniture in my mother's living room. (Confession #111 ....it wasn't always our dog Spike's tail knocking over the plants.) I spent the better part of my youth being an Olympic hopeful. Not the kind of Olympic hopeful who has a legitimate chance and the entire family devotes their life to achieve this dream. I was just full of hope and energy. Although I had no (as in notta, zip, zero) chance of going to the Olympics I will maintain my title as "The Best Back Yard Gymnast Ever". This title I will never ever relinquish. It is not in any danger because children no longer are allowed to tumble in back yards anymore. It's a liability. I wore patches in the grass I tumbled so hard. I also twirled from the homemade beam and bar my Dad hand crafted with pride. (O.k. he made them from scraps after I begged and promised not to hurt myself).
It wasn't until I was 10 before my brothers told me I wasn't going to go to the Olympics. They were getting a little embarrassed. When asked what I was going to be when I grew up I would state that when I turned 16, I would be moving to Texas to train with Bela Karolyi. He coached Nadia and Mary Lou. I had sent him letters on a regular basis to alert him I was coming. (I learned later these letters were never mailed.)I remember my parents sitting me down and gently trying to tell me I wasn't going to go to the Olympics. Therefore I needed to do my spelling. This was after I convinced my second grade teacher I needed extra recess to "train." Funny thing was no matter how hard they tried I just didn't get it. I'd be like "OK so if I don't make it in gymnastics I can go in skiing right?" Sometimes in life I think you get a little further when it takes a little longer for reality to sink in. I was probably about 15 when I really got it. Still watching the Olympics meant a lot to me. I remember watching Kim Zemeskal fall from the beam and fall from grace just when it mattered the most. Back then I think there were fewer personal interest (and cry me a river sob stories like there are now) of athletes and I liked them. I related on some level in fact I still do.

This winter Runner's World featured a great article on Paula Radcliffe. I became intrigued by her not only her speed, but her choice to "slow down." She chose to have a child during her career as a runner. I also was intrigued by how even she, as the best of runners, could have a complete and utter system or mental shut down at the 2004 Olympic Marathon. I was more impressed that she could come back and triumph after that race and after having a baby and win a marathon. I know there is a lot of controversy over running and pregnancy and working mom's but "dude" the lady is a runner. It is her job, nobody knocks other mom's who work from home or take their children to work. I don't think any job that allows a mom to have a treadmill next to the bassinet is that bad. Now having a 50 hour a week corporate job and training for IM with a child is a different topic. Paula running a 8 minute mile is like the exertion of me riding a bus. I was hoping for a fairy tale ending in Beijing where Paula would come back post giving birth stronger than ever and win the Olympic Marathon. I was rooting. I am rooting. Reality is not in favor. Due to recent injuries Paula will be lucky to attend the games at all. It's amazing how much work it takes to get to the top and to peek form and how quickly you can fall from it. I guess it's just another one of life's lessons and opportunities for learning to deal with what you didn't spend all that time training for.
Paula Radcliffe in battle to be fit for Beijing - Times Online


curious blog fans said...

OK, so what's happening in MI with the fam?

Stacy said...

The 1984 Olympics were the best! Remind me to tell you about my '84 Olympics birthday party, complete with races and fake medals. Hope MI is great!

Jennifer Yake said...

Olympic birthday party....I so wish I was there. Maybe we can recreate it next year.

Jennifer Yake said...

The MI trip was fun. So much fun I didn't have time to blog...but I'm working on it now.

Anonymous said...

we want to hear how the trip was!

Anonymous said...

mileage is an unhealthy addiction.