I can’t believe the Olympics already are over.
It seems like just yesterday I watched the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies; and yet, Sunday evening — 17 days after the Olympic contest began — I watched them come to an end.
I am by no means a sports fanatic, but there’s something about the Olympics that grabs my heart and soul. It is an event that not only breeds pride for one’s own country, but also for the accomplishments of others.
I love how every country, big or small, has a chance to offer up its best athletes in a highly competitive contest that also showcases good sportsmanship and a sincere appreciation for others’ accomplishments.
Athletes walk in for the Opening Ceremonies alongside their teammates, waiving their flags proudly as news commentators introduce them by country. They enter the Closing Ceremonies all together, with no mention of nationality. And yet all are smiling ear-to-ear, recording the night’s events with their cell phones and soaking in the experience of a lifetime.
Of course, I didn’t see every event of this year’s Olympic Games, but I watched as many as I could with fervor — even the sports with which I wasn’t familiar. I’d loved hearing the commentators share the background of various athletes and what their presence at the games meant for their countries.
For example, South African Oscar Pistorius, who had his legs amputated partway down his calves as a baby, became the first runner to compete on specialized prosthetics.
And Tunisia’s long-distance runner Habiba Ghribi became the first woman from her country to ever medal in the Olympic Games.
Japan’s Women’s Volleyball Team earned a bronze medal, earning a medal in the event for the first time since 1984.
And then, there’s Team U.S.A.
How could we not be proud?
Our athletes not only showed strength of body and mind, but also of spirit.
Our lady swimmers, in particular, were exceptionally fun to watch. Their excitement for their sport and for having the opportunity to compete in the Olympics, to me, epitomized the Olympic spirit.
Missy Franklin, Allison Schmitt, Dana Vollmer and Rebecca Soni captured 16 medals, and Franklin, alone, set two world records.
Our men swimmers also fared well with veteran Olympian Michael Phelps taking home six more medals — two silver and four gold — and Ryan Lochte taking home five medals — two gold, two silver and one bronze. Multiple other swimmers, for both men and women, also captured medals for our country.
In gymnastics, Gabby Doublas won the individual all-around competition and Aly Raisman took gold on floor exercise and a bronze on the beam.
David Boudia became the first male diver since Greg Louganis in 1988 to win an individual Olympic gold. And volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh took home their third Olympic gold.
The list goes on and on.
The accomplishments of our U.S. athletes are beyond extraordinary and I couldn’t be more proud.
Go Team U.S.A!
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].