Monday, August 25, 2008
The Olympics are a remarkable sight to behold. Athletes from so many countries compete in familiar and unfamiliar sports. The hammer throw would be my favorite pick for the unfamiliar. What is most remarkable is to watch the precision of the athletes' efforts. Their strokes are picture perfect. Their strides exquisite. Usain Bolt seemed to glide to the finish line in the 100 meter. Michael Phelps' 200 meter butterfly was flawless. As a former college swimmer it was an extraordinary site to watch. I remember the end of my 200 butterfly race. Rarely did I have the strength to pull ahead by a body length in the last lap. I don't know of anyone who has that kind of strength. For most of us, by the end of that difficult race we are just trying to keep it together and not break our form. We are just trying to get to the finish line. That is what is so extra-ordinary about the Olympics and the athletes who compete in its events. They swim perfectly, they run flawlessly, they bike effortlessly. And then many of them break world records with such seemingly little effort. I get on my bike and pedal for an hour and cover less than half the distance of an Olympic bicyclist. I run. I swim. I admire the achievements of these athletes. Their mastery of their sport is an extraordinary thing to appreciate.