For the past week the television has been switched on all day long – from breakfast to bedtime – so I can watch the Olympics. It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to see so much of the Games, which I suppose is one of the perks of working from home and having the Olympics in almost the same time zone.
I’ve become interested not just in the sports themselves but also all the hundreds of stories connected to them. While the sports take place, the commentator fills the airtime with little trinkets about an athlete’s personal history. One athlete’s father was an abusive drunk, one swimmer left the sport to join a band and smoke only to return some five years later and reach the Olympic final, another athlete had to go to court simply to be allowed to participate in the Olympics.
For this reason I’ve even been watching sports I’d never even heard of. I can’t believe I got excited about the final of the 10 meter air riffle, where the Dutch athlete was one shot away from making bronze, which would have been quite an accomplishment considering his back story.
At the end of a long day of sports, I also watch the commentary shows where the athletes are interviewed. It’s fun having seen them perform during the day to look beyond what they’ve accomplished and to learn who they are. Most look totally different: the swimmers are fully dressed and without their goggles and swimming caps, and the judokas look a lot smaller when they’re wearing regular clothes.
In these shows the hundreds of stories continue and even past Olympians are brought into the limelight. Like an athlete who at the beginning of the 20th century was a champion in eleven sports.
And there are the little extras connected to the Games which are fun as well. One I thought I’d share with you. Watch how Canadian DIYers complete a grand relay from the Pacific to the Atlantic. It’s amazing how many sports there are and to see them connected in a short sequence like this:
So, even if you’re not a sports buff turn on the TV in the following week and enjoy a game or two.