Surprisingly, I have watched some of the Olympic competitions. Perhaps, this is because BBC has been providing blanket coverage, so I can pick sports that are interesting. Partly, this is due to my wife wanting company, because she is a fanatic Olympic Games fan. German athletes have been disappointing so far, which does not bother me.
When it comes to sport, I am not nationalistic. I tend to favor the underdog or anyone with an appealing nature. I particularly dislike arrogant favorites. Nowhere is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat more readily on display.
Mostly, we have watched swimming and gymnastics, with the remaining sports being more or less uninteresting. Who wants to watch archery? I was pleased to see the South African kid edge out Michael Phelps for a surprising win. I did not feel sorry for the Russian women's gymnastic team. Although unfortunate that they slipped a few times, I was pleased for the Romanians. What do those girls have to go home to? The Russian team can go back to a land with a Dear Leader, not unlike the North Koreans.
A disappointing performance at the Olympic Games is especially devastating for an athlete. Each prepares for at least four years and must bring peak performance for one match. A bad day cannot be rectified at the next match, as it can with league sports. Those Russian girls had completed their routines flawlessly countless times, but none of those counted. One slip and a lifetime of hard work will be known only by the athlete, because only the winner is remembered.
The nice thing—the special thing—about an Olympic medal is that it can never be taken away. A world record can be broken at any time, with the old holder soon forgotten. Each gold medal winner remains a hero for many, especially in his or her home nation. That's what makes the Games so special and what makes having a bad day so painful.
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.