By and large, I’m not really a sports fan. I never grew up attached to any particular team or watched any games regularly enough to check in on them season after season, and my university tended to be more academically minded than most. We didn’t even have a football team let alone a division one team!
But despite my sad background in sports, I get really excited for the Olympics. Winter or summer, it doesn’t matter; I’m cheering for Team USA the whole time. For a few weeks every two years, it’s not an internal struggle of Reds vs. Blues, but rather a united country competing for glory on the international stage.
There’s a lot going on so it’s hard to watch everything. I basically just have to prioritize what’s most important and then try to tune in for the other stuff whenever I can. For summer, I’m most interested in swimming, diving, and gymnastics. I’ve also been known watch beach volleyball games and some of the track and field events when I have time. In the winter, I’m all about figure skating, speed skating, and biathlon. And maybe ski jumping now that I’ve seen Eddie the Eagle (really good movie, by the way), plus the hockey championships if the matches look close.
One of my favorite parts is the Opening Ceremonies, though and that has nothing to do with Team USA. Sure, I cheer the loudest for my home team, but I like watching how proud the different countries are just to be able to compete, like seeing how much it means to them just to be able to represent their people and their culture.
The International Olympic Committee recognizes 206 teams this year, 14 more countries than are members of the United Nations, plus the refugees competing under the Olympic flag. And that’s kind of amazing to me. It’s incredible to see an international organization that’s truly inclusive of all nationalities, regardless of the political blockades keeping them from declaring independence. Because then even if they don’t win a medal, just allowing them the chance to compete gives them a voice, allows someone to recognize their home and give it legitimacy.
I also like making a little geography game out of the Opening Ceremonies. How many country names do I recognize (quite a few) and how many flags can I tell apart from one another (not many)?
What’s your favorite part of the Olympics? What events are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments down below!