And I know exactly what it is… I want every person to win.
I want Russia to continue dominating gymnastics, USA to upset and Botswana to come out of nowhere. I want an impossible scenario.
Athletes spend 4 years training for this ONE event, 4 years training to land on their head 5 seconds into the performance.
There’s something fantastic about the athletes, picked as the champions of their respective countries, an offering unto the Greek Gods. Most of them know that they will be mere sacrifices at the gathering yet, compete anyways, taking crushed dreams with them as they make their exit only moments into the qualifying rounds.
They know they won’t win yet have such hope that they will. You see it in their faces when they line up for their race or tumbling pass.
This is where I surprise everyone.
And I believe them, dammit. I see that look and I think in turn.
They’re going to do it! I SHALL WITNESS!
Then they lose. They always lose. And I cry very, very manly tears.
I blink through them just long enough to see the heavily favored American approach. Well at least they won’t blow it. Right? RIGHT?!
McKayla Maroney. Please. Oh please. Just land on your feet. The announcer said that’s all you needed to do. Can you hear the announcer? Land on your feet!
And as you know, I cried some more. But…they said you are the best….
Aly Raisman qualified for the all-around and chills raced over my skin
Jordyn Wieber did not qualify for the all-around and I fantasized about punching judges for stupid rules (How can you call something a final when some of the best athletes are omitted?).
What twists the dagger in my heart is that for a majority of these “sports” (I’m being generous with you trampoliners), this is their chance at fame. No one cares about even The Michael Phelps between Olympics (unless he smokes some weed and gets munchies for Subway). We care about him only slighty afterwards, and only because he won. And he is the most decorated Olympian this world has ever known.
Imagine the obscurity of athletes from less popular events.
And NO ONE remembers losers.
You “won” Bronze or Silver?
No, you lost Gold. Way to go loser, no one cares.
Play your anthem while you stand on the podium?
Yeah…. right. Be happy we even gave you a $41 trinket.
My cowardly brain does not comprehend this sacrifice of effort. Why in the hell would Nigeria even show up to play Team USA in basketball? The game was decided before it began. My 10 month old daughter even giggled at the matchup (she also pooed, but I believe that to be unrelated coincidence).
I could go on and on about the unfairness of the Olympics in its fairness— if that makes any sense— but I won’t. I won’t talk about how unfair it is that 15-year-old girls get their dreams crushed and how being .01 second behind Michael Phelps makes you slow.
I won’t do it because I am weak. I possess nothing of the tenacity that Olympians have, the courage to stand proudly in 8th place, thinking to themselves:
Just wait. I’ll be back in four years and surprise you all.
And with a broken heart, I’ll root for them again.