This weekend the 2012 Olympics will come to a close, and I will be sad to see them go. Say what you will about the confusing plot of the opening ceremonies (which I totally LOVED), but I just love the Olympics. There are sports I end up watching that I would never watch any other time of year — boxing, gymnastics, cycling, archery — and I find myself rooting for the Jamaican who really deserves this, or the Korean who would really make his country proud.
Talking to my friends and coworkers, another thing I’ve found about the Olympics is that, since they are only every four years, they compress time. Each of us has Olympics memories from years ago — playing Mary Lou Retton off the couch (to Mom’s chagrin), or working to be Bruce Jenner or Usain Bolt on the track — and these moments are really what the Olympics are all about.
I remember gathering around a television hooked up with a computer in the early 80s, with my cousins and my sister. The 1984 games were in Los Angeles, and all my friends who took piano lessons were learning the theme to “Chariots of Fire” (1981) for their recitals. My uncle had gotten an Olympics video game (not officially licensed, but off-the-shelf) for the kids to play, and we played the hell out of it. “Summer Games” it was called (screen shot shown here). Every time we started a round, the Olympic theme played. I couldn’t get it out of my head for months.
I know I’ll have the same Olympic theme stuck in my head until this October, at least. Nice that some things stay the same.