We’re all watching them. Or we’re all avoiding watching them. Either way, it’s a universal phenom this summer…the 2012 Olympic Games.

Nettie and I considered going to merry old London for the event. It is the place of my birth after all (England, I mean, not London specifically.) But then we reconsidered when we carefully considered the logistic of it all — flights overbooked, hotels overpriced, tube overstuffed (that’s the subway in England), food overpriced, drinks over-watered. And the Tickets… Wow. I heard you have to be tight with Zeus to get seats.

Besides, we didn’t want to bump into Mitt and his wife. We’re not good at holding our tongues.

So, we’re sitting in front of the tube (that’s a TV in America), watching hour after hour of commercials, which occasionally get rudely interrupted by a short bit of a sporting event.

The very first event we saw, Men’s Cycling: Road Race, was a disappointment to say the least. The Brits, the silly Brits, let the race toddle off away from them. They literally slow-peddled their way to defeat, waiting for their chance to catch the leaders and streak to the finish, and then never streaking anywhere. Terrible performance, mates. Sorry to say it, but just wretchedly awful.

On the other hand, what a performance by the chap from Kazakistan. No, not Borat, but Alexander Vinokourov. He’s an old man at 38 with metal plates in his hip and femur from repeated accidents, and this was his last race, his retirement race. As it turns out it became one hell of a retirement party.

Alexander’s been racing since he was eleven, winning a Silver Medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics 12 years ago! Then he got suspended from the 2008 Beijing Olympics for a doping charge and just about quit racing altogether.

But he didn’t give up. He started training again. Then, remarkably, he qualified for this year’s Olympic team. No one gave him a chance in a million to place in this event, let alone win. No one even mentioned his name during most of the race. In fact, when he burst into the lead, zooming away from a Columbian cyclist at the very end of this more than four hour race, the announcers at first didn’t know who he was.

Then he won the Gold. Now, the whole world knows who he is.

So, in spite of my curmudgeonly attitude, in spite of my cynicism, I glimpsed again the essence of these games, the reason we put them on and the reason we watch them. It’s believing in the dream, or more accurately, living the dream that becomes reality through dedication and perserverance.

Yeah, all that corny stuff played out in front of us, the rainbow and the pot of gold at the same time.

Too bad Mr. Winston Churchill wasn’t alive to witness this victory because he could have shouted out one of his most famous encouragements, one that is etched on the chrome-plated paperweight my sister, Mary, gave me.

Churchill says:

         Never, Never, Never Quit.

And I say, he’s bloody-well right.

Gotta go now. The 400 Swim Relay is on, and I’m rooting for the underdog.





2 Responses to Yeah, so, like the Olympics…and the Gold

  1. fz says:

    Greg, I couldn’t agree more. There is pure drama, the smile and frown. Thanks for commenting.


  2. Greg Brandt says:

    My dad used to say that the sports page was where we could go and read about man’s good achievements. Despite the “jurisprudence” section in the sports page…I still find it true more often than not. The Olympics is one of those rare times when a lot of the world is together watching men and women perform at such a high level. It’s a special time.

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