"Aren't The Olympics Great?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, August 13, 2012

I always look forward to the watching the Olympics. I consider the games an assembly of the best athletes in the world and this year’s are certainly living up to my expectations.

Competition has been fierce, and insight into how other countries train their teams is evident. Some are very strict and have a rigid regiment that all members of the team are required to meet. They expect the best performance and some competitors show an appearance of fear of losing.

Other countries display great pride in their representatives, no matter where they finish. During interviews, each winner of gold, silver or bronze medals are thrilled with their accomplishments. When asked if they were disappointed, some team members who had been expected to medal responded, “I did my best and I’m just so happy I had a chance to compete.” Many added, “I’ll be back!”

Early events such as Tour Cycling were exciting to watch. The course was very difficult and combined with variable weather conditions, tough terrain; hills and sharp curves, even the best were challenged. Competitors involved in crashes that left them lying in the middle of the course or thrown into ditches showed great effort. They picked up their cycles, straightened a few spokes and continued with the same determination to finish the race. The track and field cycle event was completely different. The bikes had solid wheels and the start was slow as racers maneuvered for position then broke into a sprint to the finish.

Even in the Olympics, athletes who are the best in the world in their event can have a bad showing that almost makes them look like a beginner. Such was the case in women’s Gymnastics. A world all-around champion fell apart in her quest to lead her team to the top and didn’t qualify to compete. A newcomer who barely made the team, nicknamed “The Flying Squirrel,” stepped in and helped her team get the gold. She then excelled in an event she was not expected to medal in and got an individual gold. Heady stuff for a 16-year-old, perhaps overwhelming, as she faltered in her two final events.

As I see it, in any sporting contest, a team is best because they perform as a team. When one member is down, another will become outstanding thus the expression; teamwork.

The swimming events were outstanding as the U.S. dominated with an assist from five teenagers in their first Olympics winning gold. Michael Phelps was almost overshadowed by teenager Missy Franklin who ALSO took four gold’s and helped her relay team set a new world record. Phelp’s once again displayed his ability to perform beyond all expectations and competitors, including boastful Ryan Lochte. He went in the record books with 22 medals, (18 gold). He only needed 19 total medals to break the record of 18 held by a Russian gymnast for almost half a century. His sportsmanship and support shown throughout the games as he congratulated competitors and gave advice and encouragement to many make him worthy of being called the greatest Olympian in history.

As the father of girls who loved to compete, I have to applaud the great performances of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings as they went 21-0 spanning 3 Olympiads. They lost only one set in all. When they won their third gold, they were like little kids as they skipped around the arena sharing their joy with all the fans.

One reason I love to watch the games is the opportunity to view sporting events seldom seen. Our country was able to field good competitors in these events and even medaled. I was most impressed by an Equestrian event in which horses, introduced as teammates, completed a complex routine of skipping, trotting and dancing to music. Another reason I enjoy watching the games is relief from viewing the constant news programs that deliver all the daily troubles we face in our country.

There are still many events to view as I write this column. I’ll be watching and applauding the winners as well as any who qualified to represent our country but fell short of a medal.




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