30 July 2012


I realize I may be one of the few, one of the proud…I am super excited about the Olympics. So excited that I am torturing my body as I sacrifice my sleep schedule for pure entertainment. Friday night I slept four hours. I went to bed knowing that my alarm would be waking me at 3:45 a.m. so that I could see the Opening Ceremonies live. I was so excited that I dreamt about the Olympics and woke up half an hour before my alarm. Knowing I was wide awake at 3:15, I got up and turned on my local news channel to see the pre-show. 

By 8 a.m. the sun was up and so was Paul. The ceremony had ended and I decided it was bedtime. That night, after spending two non-sleeping hours in bed trying to nap then successfully napping in the afternoon, I was awake for the evening events.

Last night I went to bed around 1:30 but only because I knew that I would be recording the events I most wanted to watch on a U.S. broadcast scheduled for 7 a.m. my time. I watched that feed today.

I am intrigued by the differences between American and Singaporean broadcasters. The Singapore feeds focus on one event at a time and we watch the venue as long as a competition is scheduled – even if there are a lot of pool shots or crowd shots during breaks. There are no commercials, no Bob Costas behind-the-scenes stories, no coach interviews, no family portraits or pictures of the athletes training from the time they could walk.

While the event is on, commentary is scarce, which is rare in my experience. American broadcasters talk through every event, critiquing each athlete’s every move. The Singaporean broadcasters keep the talking to a minimum. At first I appreciated the silence but, at certain times, I wondered why something happened. Like in synchronized diving, how are the scores figured? I suppose I could look up why five scores are kept, the remaining six are wiped and somehow they add up to the number shown on my screen but I would rather someone just say it.

I told Paul today that I wondered if the full-body swimming suits were outlawed because the commentators had made a few comments regarding the times achieved in the “suit days.”

I also noticed that the Singapore station does a lot better job showing other countries’ competitors. For instance, in women’s gymnastics, they not only showed the Singaporean representative, but also showed the Americans, Germans, Russians and Chinese, along with a few other individual gymnasts. When I watched the U.S. feed today, I only saw the Americans and an occasional flip to one British girl, two Russians and two Chinese. That was it.

As I said, the Olympics is exciting to me. Growing up, Shannon Miller was my hero. She made me want to be a gymnast. I was about 7 when I saw her 1992 Olympic performance and remember doing my own impression of her moves around the house following the competition. I was just in the mood.

I begged my parents to put me into training. I wanted to be Shannon Miller.

Let me just say that I did not become Shannon Miller. My parents took me to one gym where I met a coach and a girl on the local team but I was never signed up for the classes.

As I sit on my couch and watch endless hours of ceremony and competition, my desire to be an Olympic athlete is renewed. I wondered what I could do at my age of almost 30 that would make me eligible within four years.

Watching swimming, I wondered if I could learn that technique within three years, compete and qualify. Then I saw the synchronized diving and thought, “Oooh, maybe I could dive…but only the single event. This two-person thing gets tricky.” Combine my gymnastics dream with the pool aspect. Divers are beautiful!

How amazing would it be if I actually learned how to swim and then qualified for the Olympic team within four years?! I could be interviewed by everyone saying, “Four years ago I could not swim. No really – I had never been under water without plugging my nose and closing my eyes. I literally did not know how to swim.” That would be a good Bob Costas behind-the-scenes profile!

I did the math. I would be 33 for the Rio Olympics. That is totally doable, though my fellow competitors would likely be half my age. Meh. I think that is a non-issue since a 31-year-old woman is competing on the German women’s gymnastics team. She looks like a grandma in comparison to her 15-year-old competitors but at least she still has the skills to qualify. And what about the 71-year-old competing in the equestrian events? If he can compete, I should be fine! 

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