[Valid Atom 1.0] BarbaraEllen: Essay. I Love The Olympics & Sometimes Gabby Douglas & Kerri Strug Make me Realize we are all Human.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Essay. I Love The Olympics & Sometimes Gabby Douglas & Kerri Strug Make me Realize we are all Human.

Few weeks ago I wrote this post about The Olympics. Basically, that Olympians can't lose even when they do. Something about Xanax & Crying & McDonald's & Moving On. But now I'm watching The Olympics. And I get it. 

#London2012 .
Taken from Google Images

I missed something. Scored it incorrectly. Erroneous DQ. Because as much as The Olympics are about medal counts, gold stockpiles, and indescribable wins, The Olympics--the Olympians--are mostly about 

Life. The Olympics are about Life. And Life ain't always Awesome to you.

* * *

We've all probably watched as many prelims & events as we have personal interviews & stories. Gabby Douglas, gold medal team & All Around gymnast, moved away from her family--almost quit!--only to become the first African-American, let alone American, to take both top medals. The US Women's Indoor Volleyball Coach--the Men's just 4 years prior--Hugh McCutcheon, suffered a horrific and unfathomable tragedy with the sudden stabbing and death of his father-in-law in 2008 Beijing.  Unimaginable.

Or what about those meant to win who don't. Who fail. While watching NBC Olympic Zone today, they aired a piece on Men's Diving Great Greg Louganis who now mentors younger divers in establishing the mind-body connection. Back in his earlier career, when Louganis took home silver instead of gold, depression dove into the depths of his spirit. To that effect he disclosed this confession to the reporter. I'm supposed to win. I failed. 

* * *

There are hundreds of these stories. Yet Olympians, certainly heroic and larger-than-life, do not exist in the made-up Mount Olympus Village. No. They are here. With us. The Olympic Village. God & Goddess, not. But Human, always. 

* * *

I think my favorite story, at least for the past 16 years, is that of the Magnificent 7. The first American women's team to take gold in the team final. Kerri Strug. They Baby, The Mouse Bela might say. Three falls on vault preceded her: two from rival Dominique Moceanu; one, her own. The Russians closed-in. Torn ligaments. Weight crushing her shoulders. Pressure. Pain. And that landing, she stuck.

It is the most amazing Olympics moment I have ever witnessed. For her bravery. Inspiration. My nostalgia for the sport. Respect for the athlete. I still cry. 

For the notion that this young woman, full of expectation and pressure and pain, believed in herself. She chose to. Even though everything else (other than Bela...) told her--even her body told her--that she couldn't.

* * *

Our bodies are the #1 indicator of all things. But sometimes they trick us. Where we have to say: Yes. Not to it's No's. But yes to our ambitious & our dreams. 

Strugg? Sure, we won gold. Magnificent & memorable. But also ended her career. So even with gold, the answer's not always flush. 

* * *

The Olympics are about heroes. Those who we find inside all of us. Though moreover, they're about humanity. 
That all of we humans will 
fail, and rise, 
and fall, and win, 
and falter, and find 
whatever it is again.

* * *

Be your
embrace your

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