My Favorite Olympic stories (part 1)

8 Aug

You just really can’t even begin to understand how much fun I have had watching Olympics for the past 10 (or whatever) days.  I will watch just about anything which was evidenced the day I sat there and watched pretty much the entire cycling road race, a 150ish mile ride through London and the surrounding countryside.  The thing takes an average of 4 hours.  And I basically watched the whole thing.  Yeah….  But there has been quite a bit that I have LOOOOOVED.  Some of this may be old info, some may be brand new information.  Some you may be completely sick of hearing about.  Oh well 🙂

 

1.Kieran Behan– You probably have never heard of this guy.  He is an Irish gymnast and he did not make too much of a splash at the Olympics.  He stepped out of bounds on his floor exercise and he fell on one of his skills on the floor also. But he was all smiles the entire time; one of the commentators remarked that Kieran knew he wasn’t going to do too much at the Olympics, but just being there was his dream; just tumbling on the Olympic floor was the reward of working hard for so long.  He had such an amazing attitude that I had to google him.  Here are some other facts: he is only the second male gymnast ever to to qualify for the Olympics.  But there’s more…. when he was 10, Kieran had a tumor in his leg removed.  He was temporarily confined to a wheelchair, but 15 months later, defied all odds and returned to the gym.  Less than a year later he fell from the high bar and sustained brain damage.  Once again he was confined to a wheelchair and had to relearn things as simple as raising his head.  Once again, he fought through it and 3 years later returned to gymnastics.  In 2010 he ruptured his ACL in both knees, but one knee at a time.  Finally, in 2011 he triumphantly made his mark at the World Championships and in 2012 made the Irish gymnastics team.  I can’t even tell you how impressive this kid is to me.  I wish I had known all of that when they showed his brief time on the floor in the qualifying round.  I can’t even read back over what I wrote without tearing up.  This is what the Olympics are about!!

2. John Orozco– Keeping with the theme of men’s gymnastics, John Orozco was the top qualifier at the Olympic Trials back in June.  His story has been all over the place at least during gymnastics events.  He is from Brooklyn where he lives with his adoptive parents.  Being a young, black man in Brooklyn who does gymnastics was not always easy for John.  He got made fun of quite a bit.  But he persevered.  When his family was  having a hard time making ends meet he immediately asked if he could work at his gym and he gave all of his money to his parents to help pay the mortgage.  And when Team USA fell apart at the team finals last week, John was very quick to insist that HE let his team down.  It broke my heart to see this kid who has taken on so much more than any kid should have to allow the nerves and the pressure to get to him.  I was so sad for all five of the team members.  Mostly though, I was sad for Jonathan Horton.  Jonathan is a Houstonian and an outspoken believer.  His testimony and leadership to his team have been invaluable.  I am so thankful that he had a second shot at the Olympics.

3. Caitlin Leverenz- In the midst of all the hoopla over Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin, Caitlin is a swimmer that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Caitlin swam the 200m Individual Medley and she earned a bronze medal.  Obviously others have done more and done better, but what made Caitlin stand out to me was her reaction to her 3rd place finish.  She cried for joy. Like, almost sobbing in the pool with excitement.  After watching swimmers earn silver or bronze and act disgusted with their not gold freaking Olympic medal it was refreshing to see a girl be that excited.  When she was interviewed by the ever-present Andrea Kremer, she still couldn’t control herself.  She said something like (because this was several days ago…) “I get to stand on the medal podium!  I get to see my flag raised for me!  Even though it isn’t my national anthem, I get to see my flag!”  THAT is what I want to see from our athletes!  Now that isn’t everyone’s style, but Caitlin Leverenz made quite an impression on me.

 

I have so many more stories to share, but I don’t want these posts to be ridiculously long.  So, I’ll see you again tomorrow!!

 

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