Monday, August 8, 2016

The Olympics in Rio: Iniitial Impression

Therefore... let us put aside everything non-essential... and "let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us." ~Hebrews 12:1

The Olympic have arrived. Like presidential elections the Games. the Spectacle, occurs once every four years. This year there will be 4900 medals distributed by the time it's over, and 6000 hours of programming created to be watched.

Friday evening they conducted the opening ceremonies and, as anticipated, it was a massive explosion of sight and sound, not unlike the over-the-top pyrotechnics of a Super Bowl halftime show. In fact, there were plenty of comparisons to the Super Bowl hoopla, like who got more viewers, the Olympics or the Super Bowl. (A: Super Bowl.)

I'm sure someone will write stories about the technology involved with putting on a show like this. All the stops are pulled out when a country like Brazil wins the opportunity to host the Olympics.

Host countries use the occasion to show off their national heroes and one of Brazil's is supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who strode across the longest runway stage in human history. On and on and on and still further to go. It was no 100-yard dash. This was a half-marathon. And for those who don't know, it's another tie to the Super Bowl as Bündchen is the spouse of super quarterback Tom Brady, who has played numerous Super Bowls.

The games have begun and I found myself in front of the tube (now a flat panel) all three evenings this weekend, at least part of the time. A few observations.

1. I'm always inspired by the personal sacrifices that all these athletes have made to reach this international stage.

2. I think about how these people competing were once little kids who were passionate about something and very good at it. They were the best in the schools, the best in their cities, the best in the region they came from, and now represent the best from their countries. The best. When you reach this highest rung of the ladder, what's it like when you first "meet your match"? Runners and swimmers who have never lost in their lives suddenly don't even win a medal.

3. Then, there's that incredible rush when champions dive deep and achieve the expected. Yes, some of these performers are expected to win. They know what they can do and the journalists who have watched them know what they can do. Now, they simply have to deliver the goods.

4. The psychological pressures must be profound.

5. Winning the inner game is what champions do. As for us, winning the inner game is likewise an essential part of personal success and achievement.

6. And how about that Michael Phelps? The guy has earned 22 medals, 18 gold. Twice as many as the second most decorated Olympian.

7. If you're reading this and you live in the Twin Ports, this week's Reader has a special section dedicated to Rio 2016. Some of these athletes are incredible.

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If you've been watching the Games, you will have noticed how advertisers have taken advantage of opportunity to customize messages for the occasion. The Christopher Waltz commercial was fun, but my fave was the spot from Dick's. I like the message. Gold: It's In Us All.


Meantime, enjoy the Games.

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