Every four years, the Olympics give us a chance to unite.Too often, the sports fans of America are divided. We have Yankees fans and Red Sox fans, Michigan vs. Ohio State, North Side of Chicago (Cubs) vs. South Side (White Sox), Packers vs. Bears, Dodgers vs. Giants, etc.
But at the Olympics, we are all Americans. Not Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, health food lovers vs. fast food enthusiasts, beer drinkers vs. wine tasters, rich or poor.
For a few weeks, we all watch sports most of us ignore the rest of the time and root, root, root for American athletes against the rest of the world.
And the Olympics give us heroes like few other events can. Whether it’s Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Kerri Strug or “The Dream Team,” our Olympic athletes give us something to unite behind and incidences of courage, determination and victory that we can all relate to and identify with.
In fact, athletes need not always be American to capture out fancy. Sometimes, it’s the rare perfection of Nadia Comaneci or the speed and grace of Usain Bolt. Americans can recognize excellence, nobility, power and grace in any athlete from any country.
So for the next few weeks, sit back and watch the beauty, pageantry and tradition of London and indulge in watching “obscure” sports like weight lifting, track and field, water polo and gymnastics. The best athletes in the world will be there to compete and the networks of NBC will be there to bring us all the back stories as well as the action.
Rest assured we will have new heroes, exciting finishes and memorable moments. Hopefully, the athletes of the world can unite and compete against each other in relative harmony and without major incident.
Enjoy these moments. The summer Olympics happen only once every four years.
We hear the national anthem at every sporting event we attend or watch, but it never sounds sweeter than it does when it celebrates the winning of a gold medal.