THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE 2016 OLYMPICS

THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE 2016 OLYMPICS

THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE 2016 OLYMPICS

Like many Americans, I feel a natural attraction to the summer Olympics.  So many athletes representing so many countries in so many different sporting events--all packed into a thrilling and mesmerizing 16 days.

To be honest, part of the reason I watch is to see things I never see any other time of the year.  I’ve never seen a rugby match before, but this year marked the return of rugby to the Olympic Games.  I was amazed at how much rugby resembled American football, but there were plenty of differences that made the game more fast-paced, engaging and fun to watch.  Aside from rugby, I also watched ample amounts of volleyball, diving, cycling, wrestling and even synchronized swimming.

Every Olympics has its high points--athletes who accomplish incredible feats and embody the ideals that the games stand for.  I think of Michael Phelps, who captured six medals this year to become the most decorated Olympian of all time.  I may be a little biased, but I also think of Ginny Thrasher, the WVU sophomore who won America’s first gold medal this year and became a cause célèbre on the Mountaineer campus.  You may also have seen footage of the two women who collided while running 5000-meter race, only to help each other up and finish the race.  That’s an Olympic moment! But there was also low points.  It’s always a shame to see athletes work so hard, and then face an injury in the games that prevents them from competing--like the Armenian weightlifter who broke his arm during a lift.  Poor sportsmanship was also on display from athletes who refused to shake hands with their Israeli competitors.  As I am writing this blog, Ryan Lochte is dominating the Olympic headlines.  Unfortunately, it’s not for his swimming.  It seems he made a false report of a robbery to cover up an episode of bad behavior at a Rio gas station.  Not only will this blemish his own career, but also the reputation of a highly respected and decorated American swim team. Every Olympics will have its highs and lows.  We aspire to greatness, as we should, and the Olympics embodies that lofty goal.  But we are also human, with all of our human frailties and shortcomings.  Where there are highs, there will also be lows. What about you?  Was there an Olympic moment in this year’s games that sticks out in your mind?