OLYMPIC GAMES, Summer 2004
I never miss the Olympic Games. I have memories of watching the most popular events every four years with all of my family sitting around and enjoying them together. It shaped my own viewing habits, so I never miss the broadcasts. But my interests have changed in these 35 years, and where I once watched Bruce Jenner and FloJo and Michael Johnson in their respective track events, I now cling more to the aquatic and gymnastic events. And I always find a hero in every Olympiad.
Sure, in the Athens Games I celebrated when the American gymnasts triumphed over great odds, and I smiled as broadly as anyone when Michael Phelps and the Women’s soccer, softball and basketball teams won their gold medals, but my real joy lay in the athletes who quietly took their places in history. Natalie Coughlin charmed me with her megawatt smile and fierce dolphin kick. Aaron Piersol won me over with his smooth elegance and California easiness (not to mention that great curly hair and the way he continually referred to the female journalists as “man” and “dude”). Amanda Beard continues to woo me with her genuine love of life, and Misty May and Kerri Walsh are legends in the making. These are the stories I’ll remember. This is the reason I love the Olympic Games.