In February of 1994, I was a 10-year-old little girl about to discover something that would mesmerize me for the rest of my life: the Olympics.
That year, the Winter Olympics were in Lillehammer, Norway, and as a kid watching them for the first time, I was instantly obsessed. Quickly I became familiar with a whole host of sports I had never seen before, learned the names of athletes who became my new heroes, and was fascinated being exposed to so many different cultures for the first time. I specifically remember spending hours working on a drawing of the Olympic rings surrounded by all of the star athlete's names from that year. You know the ones: Nancy Kerrigan & Tonya Harding (p.s. go see I, Tonya if you haven't yet, it's amazing), Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov (my heart!), Oksana Baiul, Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen, Picabo Street—all the legends.
While the '94 Olympics were particularly magical for me, I'm honestly still just as enamored. Since the games kicked off in Pyeongchang two weeks ago, I have tuned in every single night (ok fine, except for one) from 8pm–midnight. Like the rest of the world, I loved seeing North and South Korea march in together during the opening ceremony—and of course, I was happy to see Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless flag bearer from Tonga back again. I watched the Shib Sibs nail their twizzles, was absolutely moved by Virtue and Moir's passionate gold medal ice dancing performance, had tears in my eyes during the feature NBC did with Lindsey Vonn and her late grandfather, loved seeing Shaun White make his emotional comeback, and was glued to the screen during the Russian showdown that was women's figure skating.
But aside from the actual games themselves, what I love the most about the Olympics is seeing the world come together for something positive—if only for a few short weeks. It's a little mind-blowing to me when I talk to someone who says they aren't really "into" the Olympics. From what I can tell, it seems to be the only time that the entire world unites, coming together to celebrate the best of humanity rather than magnifying the worst of it. People from all walks of life, from different countries and cultures, all put their differences aside and share in one beautiful and triumphant experience. How can you not be "into" that?
So, Dear Olympics, I love you. Thank you for giving us all a much needed break from the regularly scheduled stream of disheartening news that we're constantly bombarded with. I can always count on you to restore my faith in humanity, and to remind me that hope is not lost, and that the beauty of the human spirit is still as strong and vibrant as ever.
🌎 🏅 ✌️ ❄️
p.s. I have a funny tradition of intentionally not tuning into the closing ceremony because I don't want to accept that the Olympics are actually over, but I might have to break my vow tonight. I need one more night!
p.p.s. And although China isn't on top of my travel list, it's always been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics (specifically the winter games), so I'm feeling like Beijing 2022 might be in the cards for me. Who's in?