Olympics are over and I very much enjoyed watching them whenever I was home on my HD over the air TV signal. I especially enjoyed watching sports that are not normally showcased on TV and of course the mountain bike races. I just wish I got to see some handball!
Maybe I've matured, but there wasn't one ounce of inspiration to quit my job, train my ass off and put everything on the line to make it to South Korea or Japan. I didn't watch the closing ceremonies thinking "gee, looks like a really fun party!", or think about what a good time it must be with thousands of condoms given out in the Olympic village. (I actually just saw a bunch of grey haired sports bureaucrats hogging the camera time. Every kid in Canada thinks that they will have a spot on the hockey team. I've been bike racing for a little over 10 years and I've seen people come and go. I've seen people come in guns a blazing claiming that they will make it to the olympics or go pro. They only last a couple of seasons. They just don't have what it takes and find little passion in the sport otherwise.
You might never be the best at what you do, but at least you can have fun and enjoy the view. We're not special. This blog doesn't have thousands of followers. I'll never get paid to ski or bike.
To get to that level (olympian), you've got to be able to throw all of your chips on the table. Risk it all. Leave behind a safe lifestyle to train for a singular goal. You've also got to push your body to the limit, risking injury. The crashes on the final descent of the road race: those were people pushing (and finding) their limits. Oh yeah and genetics, baseline neural wiring, dedication from a young age and a $upportive family help too. You have to be special.
I think these elite athletes (olympians, football players, and extreme sports) are wired a little differently. My internal wiring may never let me get to that level. We can
worship people who are able to take those risks, but I think they are cursed. Instead of finding enjoyment collecting stamps, they must push their bodies to progress the sport, risking concussions (resulting depression), spinal or joint injuries to find that limit.
I've actually raced mountain bikes against a guy who made the race walk team. Pulled a huge power move. I'm sure this is the conversation when he tells people he is an olympian:
person one: "So what sport did you compete in?"
olympian: "race walk"
and typically the response would be:
person one: "oh, that weird version of running?"
But I think it would go more like this:
person one: "Wait so are you the guy who got 4th, but got pushed over, protested, got moved up to 3rd, but then lost the counter protest and bumped back to 4th, but showed great sportsmanship?"