Parade of Athletes

Parade of Athletes

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I always look forward to the Olympics. I was mesmerized by the Italians ability to form shapes that seemed to be alive like the beating heart, the ski jumper, and the acrobatic dove. The lighting of the torch was spectacular. I could do without the endless commercials, Bob Costas descriptions of the obvious, and Brian Williams unnecessary political commentary had me switching channels before the Opening Ceremonies got off the ground. Good thing for the parade of athletes!

I don’t know what it is but watching each country march in is my favorite part of the show. I enjoy seeing which countries have been newly formed since the last competition and which are bringing in their first team. I get tears in my eyes when one lone athlete is the country’s competitor and the flag bearer. What that lone person had to do to get to Turino is remarkable. The people from countries in the Middle East and Africa who came despite their nations not have winter. And, the one guy whose country did not have a skiing federation so he became competitor and Olympic official all rolled in one.

There will be plenty of time for the winners and the flag wavers. And, I will cringe each time I hear “She is so disappointed to get the silver”. It really isn’t about who wins how many. Only a handful of the many athletes will get to take a medal home. It’s about the athlete who comes to beat their personal best. The athlete who finishes despite being 2 hours behind everyone else. And, the athlete who is there to be a part of the experience despite the fact that they have no chance to even be in the top ten. That is the real Olympic spirit and for one night that spirit was allowed to shine.

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