Olympic Fever

On July 27, 2012, I arrived in Colorado Springs, CO. It was my first day in a new city, and I headed downtown for dinner. It was also the day of the Opening Ceremonies for the London Olympics. That was my first taste of what it meant to live in Olympic City, USA, as thousands of people packed into downtown that night to party.

Colorado Springs is home of the United States Olympic Committee, and the Olympic Hall of Fame Museum. It's a town that's mad about the Olympics. So am I.

That's also what makes four years ago ironic. We had just moved and, as we found out later, we wouldn't get our stuff, including TVs, for nearly a month. Well after the Olympics was over. And, of course, that meant we couldn't get our cable hooked up during that time, either.

The first night of the Olympics we had dinner at Chilis, pretty much just to watch Michael Phelps swim. We went back the next night, and the night after that. Finally, our friend took pity on us and gave us a 13-inch TV.

We had no furniture and only a few clothes, but we gathered on our air mattress and watched the Olympics on that 13-inch screen for two weeks. That's the power of the Olympics.

I have always loved the Summer Olympics. There's something powerful and fascinating about seeing the best athletes from around the world gather every four years to compete for country on an international stage. I can remember staying up late, watching the competitions and being enraptured for those two weeks every four years. Barcelona in '92, Atlanta in '96, Sydney in '00, Athens in '04, Beijing in '08 and London in '12. I have memories of them all, and I can't wait to see what Rio in '16 will add to that legacy.

There is plenty of reason to be concerned about the setting for this year's Olympics. There have been rumored threats of violence, there's been talk about poor facilities for the athletes, there's the Zika virus outbreak, and there's the pollution of the water. Much of that was covered in the Olympic preview on NBC last night. And those are real concerns.

But there's something magical about the competition. Tonight is about the pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies and celebrating culture. But tomorrow begins the competition. I can't wait for the Americans to hit the pool, the mat, the field, and the track.

The next two weeks will be magical, a time not to be missed.


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