The Tokyo Olympics have begun, and as per usual I’m looking up when the gymnastics is on. It’s the number one reason I watch every four years, simply because it’s the closest thing there is to dancing and it’s a damn spectacle to watch. This year I can see that Team USA will be the one to beat – they’ve already shown their prowess, strength and flexibility on the bars, beam and the floor, and I’m utterly impressed with what those young women can do.
While appreciating the difficulty it’s taken to put on this mammoth event, and the concerns around coronavirus, I’m excited to have the Olympics on television. It never fails to provide a bit of inspiration and emotion, and some conversation starters around unique sports that are part of the program. As I get older, I also become more nostalgic with each Olympic games. Looking up memorable moments on YouTube, especially those during Sydney 2000, takes me back to hallmark moments in the history of sport, and its commentary.
While sport isn’t everything there is to life, it is, I think, an extension of the human experience. Striving to achieve a goal, wanting to be your best, coming up against opponents, dedicating your time to one pursuit, dealing with disappointments, and victories for some, all appear in life and in sport. With 206 nations competing across 33 sports, these Olympics will present a broad spectrum of this human experience and perhaps some stories for the ages.
Even after just watching one event, I can already see how different these games are going to be. Minimal crowds, everyone wearing masks, and no genuine sound of loud cheering, presents a different picture to the Olympics of yesteryear. I do wonder how the athletes feel and I wonder who it’s more haunting for, those who have competed before, or those that are here for the very first time.
Even with no physical crowds, I have no doubt that many spectators will be cheering on the sport of their choosing, or their country, from many corners of the world. Whether in lockdown or not, the Olympics will hopefully provide a glimpse of normalcy in these times, a silver lining and an old memory.