Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Easing Back Into Life

For sixteen glorious days, I was completely and utterly consumed by the Olympics. I stayed up late, woke up early, and was extraordinarily unproductive in any part of my life that did not involve medal counts and NBC Olympics coverage. I watched hours and hours of coverage on TV, and I streamed it on the internet (thank you NBC for this amazing fuel for my Olympics obsession). I read articles, and watched highlights. I followed my favorite athletes on Twitter, and learned more facts about their personal lives, training habits, and eating regimens than anyone would ever need to know, save the athletes themselves.

I sat glued to my TV as athletes from 204 countries marched into Olympic stadium for opening ceremonies. I welcomed the veteran athletes to my living room, and wondered for them whether these games would measure up to their last. I cheered for the young athletes, and got excited for all their Olympic appearances to come. And I felt nostalgic as some of the best finished their final races and played their final games, having announced that these Olympics would be their last.

I get a tiny bit fanatical about major (and lets be honest, minor) pop culture moments. And the Olympics is the biggest pop culture game in town. 

So, now that the torch has been extinguished, the athletes have gone home, and "London 2012" has been replaced with "Rio 2016," what's a girl to do? I could start counting down to the 2014 winter games (541 days, in case anyone is interested), but that seems a little obsessive, even for me. So instead, I'll spend the week setting my DVR to tape the Olympians' appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Late Show, The Tonight Show, and the like. And I will read articles about how London is cleaning up, and shaking off the hangover of a two-week long party. And I will ponder what NBC does with Bob Costas in between Olympic games, and why he never, ever seems to age. And I will go back to my regularly scheduled TV shows that have been sadly neglected as I soaked in Olympic glory - not because I reached my television-watching capacity, if there even is such a thing, but simply because there weren't enough hours in the day to fit it all in. I had to sleep sometime. 

But before all that happens, I think we should take a moment to honor the most transcendent athletes of the summer Olympic games. A group that made these Olympics something to remember, and who made history with their sheer numbers, soaring achievements and stunning poise. I am talking about the U.S. female gold medal winners. 

For the first time in history, women outnumbered men on the U.S. Olympic team 269-261. Our women athletes accounted for 63% of the gold medals won by the U.S. team, winning 29 out of 46. They set five world records across two sports. If the United States women were their own country, they would tie for third place in total gold medals won in this Olympic games. That is something to talk about. 

There are a lot of them, and they are worth mentioning. Our biggest congratulations and heartfelt thanks to: Claire Donahue, Katie Ledecky, Rachel Bootsma, Jessica Hardy, Shannon Vreeland, Missy Franklin, Breeja Larson, Allison Schmitt, Allyson Felix, Dana Vollmer, Rebecca Soni, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Carmelita Jeter, Sanya Richards-Ross, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Dee Dee Trotter, Lauryn Williams, Kayla Harrison, Kim Rhode, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Misty May-Treanor, Jamie Gray, Jenn Suhr, Kristin Armstrong, Keshia Baker, Alyssa Anderson, Diamond Dixon, Brittney Reese, Bianca Knight, Jeneba Tarmoh, Tianna Madison, Claressa Shields, Lauren Perdue, Francena McCorory, and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, soccer team, basketball team, water polo team, and women’s eight rowing team.

We are amazed. And we are proud. 

What was your favorite moment of the London games? Are you, as I am, suffering from Summer Olympics withdrawal?

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