The torch is extinguished and all the athletes have likely made it back home by now, but the memories of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics will live in my heart for a long while. The older I get, the more I love the Olympics. I am not and have never been an athlete, but it isn’t really the sports themselves that I love so much. It’s the value system espoused by the spirit of the games.
One of my favorite moments is the Parade of Nations. It is so interesting to see what each nation wears to represent their country. NBC does a good job of sharing interesting tidbits about various competitors from different countries. My husband and I have our favorite nations for which we cheer — Ireland because he’s Irish, Iran because I’m Iranian, Italy because we loved Italy (all in the I section. . . hmmm. . .) but of course we love our American athletes the most and are always so excited to see the sense of wonder on their faces as they enter.
I was also cheering for South Korea this year, both when they were in an event and in general. It sounds like they were gracious hosts. I see it as another opportunity to show the world that people are the same no matter from where they come. That’s a lesson that the whole event reinforced.
The spirit of the games was evident each time I heard skier Lindsey Vonn speak. She cheered on her competitors, was proud of the accomplishments she had, and made me proud as an American. She was genuinely happy that Goggia, her friend from Italy, won gold when she got the bronze. When she didn’t do as well as expected, she said she did her best and didn’t pout.
My favorite moment was when the gold medal skier from the cross country race was there at the finish line to meet the last place finisher of that race. That support of each other no matter the flag they wore was truly touching.
I love seeing the ice skating and enjoyed deciphering which character from District One Jonny Weir was going to be dressed as each night. I loved Adam Rippon’s demeanor with the media and the message his presence sends. He also made me proud to be an American even though he didn’t win an individual medal.
I may be living in an alternate universe according to some people, but I do have hope. Hope that we can continue coming together and doing what is best for the most people. Hope that the common good will be an American value again. And when I watch the Olympics, I know I am not alone.