When it comes to the Olympic Games, viewers seem to be divided into two camps: you either love them, or you're indifferent.
For those of you who fall into the second category, you'll be put out of your misery tomorrow when the games of the 30th Olympiad come to a close.
I, however, definitely fall into the first category. I don't really know how it happened - I've never been particularly athletic and the only sport I follow regularly is hockey - but I'm glad that it did. Every two years, I'm completely consumed by the Games. Athletes who have worked oftentimes for years to be able to compete on this, the most public and elite stage of them all. The pride that comes with representing their countries. The joys of victory and dreams coming true combined with the agony of defeat when sometimes it all comes down to hundredths of a second. Getting to learn about sports that often don't get a whole lot of attention, and getting insight into the culture of the host nation. I LOVE IT!
It's true that it all the coverage on can easily be a bit overwhelming. It also doesn't help when NBC continually plays 'background' pieces that by the end of the Games we've all seen a dozen times rather than show less popular sports or athletes from other countries. But at least in the digital age if you want to look into those things (like when my father was disappointed that they weren't televising the hammer-throw), you can usually find them online instead.
All in all, I've always found the Olympics and those who most of the participants to be admirable. I'm not saying I'm necessarily a fan of everyone there, but you cannot deny that to be an Olympian has required a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifices that those who don't share that same path could ever imagine. And the reactions the athletes have to the results speak volumes, too. Of course winning the gold medal is the ultimate prize, but Tuesday night I watched a women's track race where the girls who each won the silver and bronze medals were just as excited, jumping up and down, clapping with smiles from ear to ear and flags draped around their shoulders. No matter if a participant walks away from those games with a medal, they can go home and for the rest of their lives state that they are Olympians, which is an incredible accomplishment in and of itself.
Citius, Altius, Fotius. Faster, Higher, Stronger. These three words make up the Olympic motto. They are good words to keep in mind whether or not you are an athlete. They serve as motivation to keep going, keep pushing, keep trying. Words that we may not hear for another two years until the Winter Games take place in Sochi in 2014, but that doesn't mean their impact should lie dormant for that long.