- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
by Greg Higgins/Sports Columnist – eParis Extra!*
There’s something spectacular that happens every four years. Some people enjoy it while others get tired of it. Television coverage is dominated by it and news casters talk about it constantly. Of course I’m referring to the Olympics, an event that captivates the hearts of people all over the world. Somehow, these athletes that we’ve never heard about before find a place in our hearts. We will never forget Mary Lou Retton and her performance in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. I remember watching a movie on Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast, and how she stole the hearts of everyone watching her. People like Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Aly Raisman were unheard of until the Olympic Games made them famous. We have watched the careers of some, like Phelps, blossom before our eyes. The country was mesmerized four years ago as he competed in eight events and took the gold medal in all of them. We were there watching as he won 22 medals, 18 of which were gold.
The Olympics always reinforce something for me: No matter how big the rivalry, long-standing opponents will always come together for their country. This was evident in the 1992 games when Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing suited up to play on the same team together. Ewing and Jordan had some epic battles in the playoffs year after year, with Jordan always edging out Ewing to move on. Larry Bird also played on that team with Magic Johnson. Bird and Magic shared perhaps the most storied rivalry in NBA history. They played against each other in the NCAA championship game, with Magic’s team winning. They would both be drafted into the NBA, Magic to the Lakers and Bird to the Celtics. Their rivalry had become legendary as they fought each other for the title of the best. However, both of these rivalries were laid aside for the honor of representing the United States in the Olympic Games. Similarly, this year, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James have put aside their NBA differences to play for the gold medal. This is something that has always fascinated me about the Olympics. For the most part, people realize what an amazing opportunity it is to represent their country in the games. Most of the athletes competing have been training for this moment for most of their lives. The moment they have to shine is brief and short. It is a moment they have to seize. A moment for them to grab the gold medal and forever be known as an Olympic champion or a moment where they could be forgotten and all the hard work not recognized. It’s in this moment of time that a country is behind them. It’s in this moment they realize they are not only doing this for themselves but for every person back home that dreams of standing in their shoes. It’s during this race, game, or competition that nothing else matters. We forget about work problems and stress at home. We forget who is running in the upcoming presidential election and we live vicariously through someone competing in a different country for ultimate supremacy. People that don’t watch any other sporting events throughout the year will turn on the games every night for two weeks hoping to see something special or something great.
What makes the Olympics so unique is the idea that a person nobody has heard of is competing on the grandest of stages. They are embracing the pressure and putting everything they have into this competition and for that moment, you and I can live their dream with them. We can be right there and share that glory and that pride because they didn’t just do this for themselves. They have done this for their country. That’s what the Olympics are about. So, good luck and congratulations to everyone competing on behalf of the United States!!!
(Olympic Rings – Image source: www.airplanebasic.com)
Greg Higgins is a sports enthusiast and has been all of his life. He loves playing and watching all kinds of sports. He is actively involved with the Paris Community Theatre, and he also serves on an Advisory Committee for PJC.