What is it about the Olympics that’s so freaking inspiring.
I mean, I spend two years wandering the world relatively sedentary, and then the stupid Olympics come on, and I’m like, “I need to get off the couch and do something and become champion of the world!” Never mind that most of these champions are barely past puberty, have private tutors and do nothing but practice 15 hours a day. (I know how it works. I’ve seen The Cutting Edge a time, or two, or 17.)
When I was little, it was always figure skating that got me excited. (Toepick!) But what self-respecting tween in the early 90’s couldn’t want to be a figure skater with all the drama/conspiracy/creepy ex-boyfriends knocking out your opponents.
Then by 1996, I’d matured to Gymnastics, because, hello, I was old enough to be a qualifying member of the Magnificent 7 even though I was probably already 3 inches too tall by then. If only I had started gymnastics at age 4 instead of ballet, I could have been limping my way to a Gold Medal.
I skipped a few Olympics over the last decade, I think for lack of cable and a husband who finds the Olympics about as exciting as watching QVC. I don’t know what his problem is. Something about the schmaltzy stories being melodramatic and contrived and something about not understanding anything about Curling or Rhythmic Gymnastics. But then again, as I say, I don’t understand how he can spend hours reorganizing his weaponry and special abilities on every single video game, so we remain, in effect, a mystery to each other.
But good news! Husband’s out of town trip this year happened to coincide with the first week of the Olympics! So baby and I can watch to our heart’s content! Baby seems to like water polo. I think this is because he sees the bonnets and thinks it’s a bunch of babies playing with toys in a giant bathtub.
And this year, since I purchased a bike exactly 15 days ago, I am convinced it’s not too late for me to become an Olympic cyclist. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday watching the Men’s and Women’s Road Race and wishing I was on the streets of Surrey County waving my little American flag as a herd of riders with giant thighs and stretchy pants blurred by on their way up Box Hill. Then I got inspired by the 30-year-old former Leman Brothers employee who made the Olympics and the 38-year-old who won the Men’s Road Race! I’ve been out cycling a few times this week, and as the baby’s screaming and tugging on his much-hated dinosaur-decorated baby helmet, I pretend he and his chariot are helping me train by creating drag to make me stronger.
So what if the gymnasts could biologically be my daughters. In 2020, I could still go to Madrid/Tokyo/Istanbul and become one of those crazy Olympic stats: “If Heather completes this race, she would be the first mother of 4, former ballerina to qualify for Olympic cycling in a year containing no odd numbers.”
Here’s to the Olympics, the stuff dreams are made of.