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Olympics and a sense of American pride

August 2, 2012

Michelle Berry, A Fresh Perspective
In case you weren’t aware, the 2012 Summer Olympics have been going on in London for several days now, and will continue for several to come.
The Olympics is something I look forward to every four years (or two, since the Winter Olympics are held two years after the Summer Olympics). It’s just fun to watch representatives from my homeland take the field in various events and not only excel, but take the medal stand time and time again.
My husband and I went to Amarillo Friday night to watch the Opening Ceremonies with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew. Even though there were aspects of it that were over the top (as is always the case), it was worth waiting to watch the American team take the field during the Parade of Nations. It made me feel proud to be an American and made me want to throw my support behind them.
Unless you are completely out of the loop, you will know that the Americans have had a dominant performance at the Olympics so far, and have literally been neck-and-neck with China in the medal count. It has been extremely fun to watch.
The other night, I watched first-time Olympian Missy Franklin win her first individual medal in the 100 meter backstroke. It was so exciting to watch her, and I could feel the excitement she had after winning that medal. It made me swell with American pride.
Later, I watched the medal ceremony for Franklin. I don’t know what it is about hearing the national anthem played and watching that American flag be raised, but it makes me tear up every time. I think it’s a sense of excitement for the person winning and also being proud of my country.
Being the emotional person I am, when I heard that they were going to reunite Franklin with her parents on the Today show the following day, I had to DVR it since I knew I would be at work. When I finally got to watch, and see Franklin run and give both of her parents big hugs, again I was tearing up. Call me an emotional sap.
Even though I knew I was going to have an early morning yesterday getting the election results in the paper, I stayed up to watch the United States women’s gymnastics team win gold and to watch Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian in history. Both events were definitely worth staying up for to watch.
Back in 1996 when the Magnificent Seven won gold in gymnastics at the Olympics, I didn’t get to see it happen because I was away at youth camp at the time. I enjoyed youth camp tremendously, but I knew this time I had to watch to see what was going to happen.
As I watched the U.S. Women’s team compete in event after event, I had no doubt of all the work each gymnast had put in to get to this point. They all looked incredible out on that floor doing one strenuous routine after another.
I then watched them take the podium as the Olympic champions. I could see a look that was mixed with joy, relief, happiness, and excitement, all rolled into one. It was obvious that all of the hard work had been worth it to them, and it was worth it all to get that gold medal.
Wednesday morning, I taped the Today show again because I had a pretty good feeling the team was going to be interviewed. Sure enough, they were. In the middle of the interview, all of their parents came out and hugged them. It was truly a priceless moment to watch.
I also watched some of the interview with two of the guys that swam the relay that gave Michael Phelps the title of the most decorated Olympian of all time. They actually said they had no idea that was the case until after the race was over and Phelps shared the news with them. It was just awesome to hear that news and that they realized they truly had been a part of history in the making.
I am excited to continue watching the Olympics and see how our American athletes perform. They have not only made me proud, but they have made the United States of America proud.
Go TEAM USA!!!

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