So for those who have been following a few of my articles, you would guess that I am a swimmer. Sports have always been a passion of mine since I was three or four years old. It began with soccer, led to swimming, and along the way included softball, basketball, and diving. Sports taught me a lot about my character — and yes, I know how cheesy and processed that sounds. In all seriousness, I love the Olympics, not only because it is one of the few times swimming gets some spotlight, but because it gives sports the attention they deserve in general.
In America, we glorify men’s football, basketball, hockey, and baseball. During the Olympics, however, we celebrate all sports. Track and field, women’s soccer, swimming, gymnastics, the list goes on. I love the Olympics because the world’s attention becomes focused on the sports that usually go unnoticed here in America and around the world too (minus the soccer part). There’s an unparalleled sense of patriotism and sportsmanship that, for once, doesn’t solely focus around the million-dollar basketball player. It gives everyone a fair shot at immortality and glory, just like our pro sports do here at home.
Take a look at Missy Franklin. She’s probably not a name you heard before the Olympics, but after winning four golds and a bronze in swimming, she is going home as a hero and an American sweetheart. However, unlike some of her teammates, like Michael Phelps, Franklin does not get paid to swim. (Yes, there is such a thing as professional swimming.) She is heading into her senior year of high school and has turned down millions of dollars of endorsements so that she can remain an amateur and be eligible to swim in college. The Olympics gives her a chance to claim fame and glory in a way that other athletes don’t. She brought her country glory, yes, but it is her name we will remember in four years when, hopefully, she does even better at the Games.
The Olympics is a great showcase of athleticism and patriotism. People love watching the Olympics because it only happens once every four years. It reminds us what we can do if we are patient and persevere through rough times. Some of these athletes train four years for one day of competition. That right there is a lesson in dedication that we can all take home, and a lesson that sports can teach us.