By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
They ain’t over yet, but I think many will be glad when they are. What am I talking about? The 2020 Olympics that are still being referred to as the 2020 Olympics even though they are being held in 2021. While they have had some touching triumphs, uber-upsets, several “first evers,” and the things we have come to expect of the elite athletic global get together; they have worn me out.
And, when I think of the prospect of the 2024 Olympics being held in Paris, and remembering that there are certain portions of Paris that the French police don’t even enter, I am not jumping up and down. For the moment, I am going to choose to not “borrow evil from tomorrow,” and wait for three years to see how it plays out.
What can be said about these Games? Perhaps Charles Dickens said it best when he opened A Tale Of Two Cities with the immortal, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Certainly we have seen it all so far. And while I could spend a lot of time kvetching, I shall exercise restraint and mention the low moments briefly, and focus on the good stuff. Here goes.
Twerking and sportsmanlike conduct? Ummm, no. Not from the same planet. Sitting it out when muscling through could get you paralyzed? Absolutely. Coming back and winning a bronze on the beam? Oh, yeah; you go, Simone! What impressed me the most about the petite GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) gymnast was how she supported her team even when she was temporarily sidelined by her own choice. She coached, she showed up in the stands, and the team flourished with a silver with several individual golds to boot. By any standard, the entire US Women’s Gymnastics Team made us prouder than proud.
There has been an unprecedented discussion about depression amongst athletes, and I am glad that is getting out into the open. In my view, some of it has been dealt with in a healthy manner, and some not. And, we have to ask ourselves if we are contributing to the problem by expecting 24/7/viral/livestream/tweet/YouTube playing and replaying of every wobble to not have an effect. Me thinks that is enough for ANYONE to get depressed, and something we need to re-examine.
As of press date, America has the most total medals, China is second and has won the most gold medals, and what is currently dubbed “The Russian Olympic Committee” is third. US swimmers and runners have broken records and athletes have unashamedly wrapped themselves in the American flag. A Saudi was defeated by an Israeli and shook her hand, which could possibly result in some risky fallout when she gets home. This is a far cry from the murder of Israeli Olympians in Munich nearly 50 years ago by a Palestinian terrorist group named Black September, and to watch what can happen in a half century was roundly encouraging.
My favorite moment so far? It was the passionate, politically incorrect, totally un-woke positive eruption of Tamyra Mariama Mensah Stock, the daughter of an immigrant from Ghana, when she won the gold medal in women’s wrestling. Here it is, and let it give you some “juice.”
When asked how it felt representing the U.S., Mensah-Stock said, “It feels amazing. I love representing the U.S. I freaking love living there. I love it, and I’m so happy I get to represent USA!” Then she cried as she talked about wanting to get home to her husband and her dog. I would say, that qualifies as “the epoch of belief” for all of us, and at the end of the day, I am refreshed by it.