I always feel like I need some time to decompress after the Olympics, time to get back into my normal routine. During the Olympics my days are usually spent trying to avoid news outlets and any online spoilers (almost impossible in this social media age). Nights are spent in front of the TV trying to absorb the multitude of information that gets crunched in the "prime time" telecast. Chores like laundry or vacuuming are regulated to "next week", magazines and books remain unread on the counter, beloved TV shows rack up unwatched on the DVR, the craft room sits silent, and the cats look forlornly at their toys wondering when the big people will play with them again. Dinners tend to be quick and usually revolve around food from where the Olympics are taking place. It's pretty much Olympics, morning, noon and night at our house.
This time around was a bit different. Due to a multitude of events, I completely missed most of the Olympics this year. It got to the point that I would purposely look for who won what events during the day so that night, once I could actually sit down and watch a bit of the broadcast, I knew where to fast forward to check out the good parts. Someone won an event by a mile? Probably fast forwarded right through it. But if a race or event was a close one, even if it was between two countries I'd never even heard of, I'd try to watch the final bit, just to get a feel for the excitement.
The thing I missed most during these Olympics were the little glimpses into the town the Olympics are held in that even local news stations usually show. You know, where they go meet folks from a tiny town near the big event and show what they eat, what they do in their spare time, and what they wear. That to me is a big part of the Olympics, not only watching the events but learning about a new part of the world.
I was able to try out some interesting British foods (there are several I still haven't posted about) and cook some really good British recipes (which I hope to get up on the blog in the next several weeks), but trips to the local pubs for a Black and Tan or Fish and Chips went by the wayside.
But when I was able to get in the spirit, I had a jolly old time. I love the fact that the Olympics for me, isn't always about who wins, or if an American is on the podium (though trust me, I do root heartily for my USA). Even with the limited watching time, I did have some favorite moments.
*My favorite athlete during the Olympics? For some unknown reason, Mo Farah. Never heard of him before. Became an instant fan after watching in the 10,000 and rooted like crazy for him in the 5,000. I wanted him to run more races! Go Mo! Go Mo! When I found out his wife is carrying twins and is expected to deliver within weeks, it made it all Mo Better :)
*I admit, I'm not a big fan of track and field. It's usually the last sport I pay attention to and can't remember really truly rooting for someone since Dwight Stone back in the day. But man the women's track team had me cheering like crazy. From the dogged determination on the face of Jetter, to the jubilant smile that was shown on the face of Barrett when she won the silver in the high jump, the USA track women caught my attention and made me proud.
*Oscar Pistorius. Asked by 19 year old from Grenada to trade bibs (ultimate sign of respect). Said teenager goes on to win his countries first ever medal (a gold). Chills.
*Bolt. Didn't know, didn't watch, didn't care. Never been a fan. Not sure why but I think I prefer my Olympic athletes a bit more modest in their accomplishments. Just because you are the fastest man, doesn't mean you are the best athlete in the world. I'd prefer to spend time with Pistorius or Kirani James from Granada than Bolt any day.
*Those damn Mom commercials got me every time.
*The whole Bond thing during the opening ceremonies? Priceless.
*Yes, I did care What Kate Wore. I also paid attention to the tight little swim trucks and the very tight clothing on some of the male athletes that showed much more than was respectable. Though I didn't have a problem with the whites the USA athletes wore during the closing ceremonies, I had a huge problem with the big polo logo! (and that they were made in China...sigh).
*My favorite gold after Mo? David Boudia. The final in the platform diving was nerve wracking and yes, I think Tom Doyle is adorable.
*I really didn't have a problem with NBC's basic broadcast (though get rid of Seacrest-he seemed bored and uninterested on what was going on). There was plenty of broadcasting on the many channels that we could DVR and watch, we just didn't have the time. I did have a big problem that there was no Ann Curry. I also had a problem with NBC for not giving us the entire closing ceremonies! No Davies or Kate Bush? WRONG!
*I know there are those that really disliked the music during the closing ceremonies. They wanted something "more". Well to me, that was an ultimate concert, I knew every one of the bands or singers, yes even One Direction, and would have given anything to have actually been there.
*I had a friend in the closing ceremonies. It was fun to read about his secret practices, to see some of the photos he snuck out of the venue before that evenings show. If you paid attention to the folks on the green truck during the closing ceremonies, you probably saw a brief glimpse of him.
There were of course many more highlights during the London games, from medals in archery (I took classes in high school way before it was Hunger Games cool), to Gabby, Phelps, USA women's soccer, beach volleyball...there were a whole lot of USA medals and a whole lot of stories to go with each and every one of the athletes that competed during the games. Though I didn't get to fully immerse myself into these summer games (note to self: do not plan a major garage sale and participating in an out of town Color Run during any Olympic goings on) I still had much joy watching what I could.
And yes, I'm already trying to see if I have any Russian Cookbooks for the 2014 Winter Games and am taking a quick look at Brazilian foods for 2016. This has turned into a fun tradition at Olympic time. And you do realize that the winter games are only 18 months away?!