This year, I have watched more Olympic competitions than in the past. My wife wanted company. We have watched mostly swimming, gymnastics, and track & field. For some strange reason, she also likes to watch weightlifting, but we missed most.
Usually I root for the underdog or unknowns, but I have been happy to see a few of the favorites win. The surprise for me has been that black men have not dominated all races and that white women have performed so well. Caribbean Islands seem to be replacing Africa as the go-to place for runners.
I have been impressed by gymnasts for as long as I can remember. Although I did well in school sport, nothing compared to the performance of a great (or even mediocre) gymnast. I believe that no other athlete can match what gymnasts do. Some people might run faster, but anyone can run. Some people might swim faster, but most people can swim. Riding a horse takes no great talent. Sailing a boat might take some practice, but requires no great athletic skill. Anyone can toss a discus, a shot, or a hammer, even if none even approaches a world record. Shooting a bow & arrow, a pistol, or a rifle are all something one does at summer camp, even if at a lesser level of skill. I will reserve comment on other sports, out of fear of hurting more peoples' feelings.
Very few can do what men do on the pommel horse, the parallel bars, the horizontal bar, the rings, or the floor, and very few women can do what gymnasts do on the uneven bars, the balance beam, or the floor. How many of either sex can manage to vault like gymnasts? I was never able to do any of these…and I tried. A simple pull-up was tough enough and a hand-stand impossible.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.