Monday, August 6, 2012

The Olympics

  I am going to attempt to express my love for the Olympics in this post, with justification. If it just turns into nonsensical spazzing, I apologize. I just really love the Olympics. Also, I love both Winter and Summer Olympics, but since the Summer Olympics are currently on, I will mostly be discussing them. Makes sense, right?
  There's something incredibly special about the Olympics. Every four years (two if you're talking Winter to Summer) countries come together, thousands of people from all over, to enjoy something as simple as sportsmanship. Countries (for the most part) are able to put their differences aside so that people all over the world can root for their team and favorite athletes in a large variety of sports. I think that's quite an accomplishment.
  Beyond just the concept of the Olympics, spectating the competition is great. The Olympics always manage to start with a bang at the Opening Ceremonies, with performances, the parade of athletes, the lighting of the torch-- it's a great way to get in the spirit of things; it reminds us how special the Olympics truly are. Then we get to the actual sports-- games, races, sports we never even think of viewing outside of this event.

  Now, despite my complete lack of physical abilities or athleticism, I'm actually a pretty big fan of spectator sports (specifically major league baseball and college basketball, if you're wondering). So naturally after all you've read so far, I spazz out over the Olympic sports. I literally watch as much of the Olympics as possible; so it's a good thing it's over the summer, because I have been very unproductive the last couple weeks. Granted, I find some of the sports boring-- like you can only watch so many laps in the pool or track before it gets old, and basketball with the pros is super boring in my opinion. But there are so many great and entertaining sports. Plus in the Olympics you get the top dogs, the most talented athletes from all different countries. So not only are the sports unique, you get to see them executed with extreme talent. The things these athletes are able to do are truly amazing-- some are simply jaw-dropping, others make the challenge look easy, when really it's just incredible these people can do these sports as well as they do.
  And then as I'm watching, I think of what it must be like for them, for the athletes. All I know is that if I was one of them, I'd be absorbing every moment of it. Just reaching the skill level to make it to the Olympics must be amazing, and to win a medal must be indescribable. I watch athletes win gold, and honestly it can be emotional-- for them it's all their hard work rewarded, their dreams come true, just pure and unbelievable joy. To see someone earn the gold and experience this, I get caught up in the emotions too.
  Alright, so that's my sentimental, probably a bit cheesy, view of the Olympics. But seriously, it's good stuff. Now for the fun part-- I'm going to list my top 5 favorite Olympic sports to watch. Before that though, I'd like to give a shout out to a few contenders-- archery and fencing, you almost made it on my list. Here we go:

5. Synchro Diving
                                              Yep, synchronized diving-- whether it's platform or springboard, men or women's, it's a really cool sport. Because diving in general-- jumping from a (especially with platform) high distance and doing crazy spins and twists (the technical terms, I'm sure) in the air as you fall to land in the water with as little a splash as possible is already impressive-- now do it with someone next to you and match them completely. 'nuff said.

4. Volleyball
                                 A pretty normal sport to like, I suppose. For the most part I prefer women's indoor team volleyball, but I'll watch the guys and I do admit I follow May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings pretty closely in the beach volleyball competition. What can I say, they're an incredible team, and I'm rooting for their three-peat-- they honestly deserve. As for indoor, I really like the US women's team, and watching their team work and abilities (man, can they dig and spike that ball), it makes for a great game.

3. Gymnastics 
                                    Probably one of the more popular Olympic sports, but it is for a reason. It's not something that'll pop up on ESPN too often (if at all...I honestly don't know), and so it is one of those sports special to the Olympics. Plus it's entertaining, in one of those jaw-dropping, I can't believe people can physically do that, kind of way. When I watch it, I'm half excited, half nervous for the athletes-- it's a sport where things can go terribly wrong, both point-wise and injury-wise. But that's what makes it fun-- you're on the edge of your seat, and someone does something truly amazing, and it's just such a sense of triumph. My favorite moment was McKayla Maroney's vault for the team competition-- she completely deserved a perfect score, just saying. Plus gymnastics offers a good variety-- unlike a game or race, there are different events, which just adds to the entertainment. So whether it's men or women's, these athletes do incredible things.

2. Badminton
                                  And it's not like your backyard game. If you haven't seen it, go watch it because you won't understand how insane this sport is. The speed is unbelievable. I can't even really describe it beyond that, you just have to watch it. Also, they have something called mixed doubles, where on each team is a man and a woman-- yay for deplenishing sexism in sports! Side Note: Don't get me wrong, I understand that guys and girls can't compete together in most sports, but it's nice to do when they can, am I right? Anyway, this sport is just mind-blowing because of the speed and execution. It's insane, and therefore super entertaining.

1. Water Polo
                                    Super random, I know. Some of you might not even know what it is-- I didn't until the Beijing Olympics. I've watched a few games of it this Olympics though, and it's awesome. They're in a 5 meter deep pool, using a ball that weighs just under a pound, trying to throw it in a goal without fouling and before the shot clock's up. It's intense. There are four 8 minute quarters, so it's well paced, and unlike in soccer (yes, that's a burn towards soccer-- I don't like soccer), they actually score. I prefer the women's in this sport-- oddly enough, they're more aggressive and active in the pool than the guys, in my opinion. It's a great game that requires a ton of endurance (they have to swim back and forth across the pool plenty of times, treading water when not) along with strategy to get the ball past the goalie and defense. So even though my mom laughed at me when I told her, I love watching water polo-- it's crazy entertaining. I get into it like I do basketball and baseball, getting all hyped up and yelling at the tv--usually I'm alone in the room by that point.

  So there you have it, why I love the Olympics along with my top favorite sports. Now you know, and maybe this post will get you thinking about your favorite Olympic sports and moments.

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