Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rio or Bust!

As we bask in all of the sweaty, unbearable glory (horror) of the dog days of summer, I’m looking forward to only two things: fall and of course, the summer Olympics. Yeah baby! Yup, the countdown is on folks; we’re only 10 days away from Rio 2016. USA’s team of Olympians features 555 athletes of which 364 are rookies making their Olympic debut on the world stage; each ready after years of hard work and sacrifice to take that all important last step towards making their dreams come true. While California is the most represented state with 125 athletes, as a proud New Yorker I’m thrilled to say that we’ve contributed 30 gritty and tough as nails athletes of our own ready to make us all (New Yorkers, Alabamians, Alaskans, Arizonan, …heck Americans) proud.

I’ve posted my sentiments on the Olympics in years past, so I’ll undoubtedly be repeating myself, but I’ll say it nonetheless, I love the Olympics. I love the athletes and the dedication, integrity and never say die attitude for which they stand; I love the opening ceremony and the feeling of collective pride we all get to feel for our respective athletes; I love the underdogs, longshots, dark horses, and Cinderella stories that help fuel our own resolve and strengthen the hope and faith we have that all our dreams are possible; and I love the fact that for a short period of time, we can put aside our gripes and differences and stand shoulder to shoulder as Americans – not Republicans or Democrats, Whites or Blacks, Catholics or Muslims or any other number of labels which sometimes separate us - rooting for other members of our American family.

Every Olympics we’re offered new heroes to cheer and goose-bump inducing memories to store in our collective memory banks, none more special than those times when we beat the odds and can write our own chapter in history. And though we cheer for our own with heartfelt chants of U-S-A, U-S-A, we’re always willing and eager to embrace other athletes that embody the purest essence of the Olympic spirit. What could be better than the best athletes in the world, striving to be the best they can be, competing in the spirit of fair play, and ultimately helping to bring all of us – all nations – together in peace?

I honestly can’t wait, so on Friday, August 5th – the night of the Opening Ceremony, I’ll be ordering a pizza, pouring myself a cold drink, and sitting on the edge of my seat ready to erupt into loud and proud cheers for all the athletes of the world, though maybe just a little bit louder when the stars and stripes enters the building.