Gone in Seventeen Days

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Gone in seventeen days.

I’m so disappointed that the Olympics are over. I didn’t think I’d feel this way, but China put on such a show that I feel ripped-off watching anything else on TV—at least for now.

The last seventeen days have been nothing short of amazing! I’ve always been a fan of the Olympic games—even the ones that I never witnessed—like the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 with the indelible images of Tommy Smith and John Carlos with fists raised on the victory stand, or the records set by Mark Spitz in the 1972 Munich Games—overshadowed, of course, by the tragedy at the Olympic Village. For better and in some cases worse, the Olympics embody what all of us share: indomitable human spirit.

Whether we’re brought together by triumph or by tragedy, the Olympics set the stage for something much bigger than ourselves. The athletes must feel something that most of us would find unimaginable.

What the heck must Michael Phelps feel like? Or Usain “Lightning” Bolt? I mean, c’mon, Phelps has more gold medals than anyone in Olympic history and Bolt is not only the fastest man on the planet, he’s the fastest human being ever! Ever!

What about American wrestler Henry Cejudo? The youngest son of undocumented immigrants who—at twenty-one—became the youngest American ever to win a gold medal in his sport. His odyssey is truly a tale of perseverance and the American Dream.

Americans delivered.

Okay, we kind of got our butts kicked by the Jamaicans in track and field. We did, however, win more medals, 110, than any other country. China, as we all know, won the most gold medals, fifty-one, and was second in overall medals with one hundred. (Of course, the verdict is still out on some of those baby-faced gymnasts.) But as young and as cute as some of them may be, are any of them nearly as cute as our own Shawn Johnson? (Johnson’s so cute that the U.S. didn’t even consider replacing her with another cuter gymnast.)

I got so many chills during these games that you’d think we were in the dead of winter. Of course, I was dutifully reminded that summer was alive and golden as Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor set and spiked their way from Athens to Beijing to become two-time Olympic Champions! London anyone?

Decathlete Bryan Clay became recognized as the Best Athlete in the World winning gold in humble yet formidable fashion. He’ll go down in history with the likes of Bruce Jenner, who—after thirty-two years—is still keeping fit and Keeping Up with the Kardashians! Life’s not half bad for an Olympic decathlete.

And just when you thought the Opening Ceremonies were a tough act to follow, the Closing Ceremonies—with David Beckham—recorded an event that made Cirque Du Soleil look like a high school carnival with Pauly Shore.

Oui! Oui!

Recent generations have bore witness to a very different China; and seventeen days doesn’t erase history, but China should be commended for making the XXIX Olympiad a triumph for the ages.

Perhaps, day eighteen is the dawn of a new day for the People’s Republic.


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