The Olympics are coming to a close and I, like everyone else, will be feeling a deep void when it won’t be playing on my television 24/7. My first Olympic memory is the 1996 Summer Games when the gymnast Kerri Strug completed the final vault, and winning the gold for the women’s USA team on an ankle injury. Even at the ripe old age of nine I could feel the energy, raw emotion and pride that the USA team and country were feeling in that moment. 16 years later my roommate and I sit glued to our TV screen watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings win their third straight gold medal (and last playing as a team), crying and wishing we could have been that good. We’ve come to the conclusion that our parents are to blame for not “making” us be that good. Thanks mom and dad, it’s all your fault I don’t have a gold medal around my neck.
Four years seems like such a long time in between games. How will we survive not seeing Gabrielle Douglas or hottie Ryan Lochte on our TV every night? We all get so attached to our athletes while the games are happening, knowing their whole story. How old they old, where they grew up, the name of each family member….it’s hard to say goodbye to them after the two weeks is up. I remember when I found out Nastia Liukin didn’t make this year’s gymnastics team, I almost lost it. She was my favorite gymnast in the 2008 Beijing games! But like every new Summer Games roster, I fell in love with the next group of athletes, and every year our USA team makes me even more proud to be an American.
2016 Rio de Janeiro we will probably see just as many new faces and we’ll come to love them just as much as the last. So congratulations to our whole 2012 USA team, you made us proud! I’m sure I’ll be seeing some of you on Subway commercials, cereal boxes or Dancing with the Stars.