The Gift of the Olympics

Quote: “When I watch the Olympics I become such an emotional wreck. I’ve always loved the Olympics, be it the Summer or the Winter Olympics.” –Bryn Terfel
Song: Olympic Fanfare and Theme by John Williams
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Michael Phelps

It’s 6pm on Saturday night as I write this. I’m on my couch, already showered and in my pajamas. I have to be up at 4am tomorrow but can’t sleep. For two reasons. First, I’m sick. Super sick. Like, I think my throat is about to explode. I have forgotten how to breathe out of my nose because I can’t, and it hurts to breathe through my mouth, so basically it hurts to live. Second reason, Michael Phelps final race is about to happen, and I wouldn’t miss watching that for anything.

Living in the United States is interesting. Growing up in Canada, I saw very different ways of how citizens react to what their country does. Canada is pretty passive. The United States is not. They complain on Facebook and Twitter, every single day of their lives, about something. It’s thoroughly annoying. If I see one more giant post about Trump or Clinton, I am seriously going to debate deleting Facebook. Now you wonder, sounds like all you’re doing is complaining. No no no. I just want to highlight what the Olympics does for our society.

The Olympics have been going on for approximately one week and television/social media has been saved for a short time period. I want the world to realize how well the Olympics brings us altogether. All of a sudden every country is positive, peaceful, loves other countries and just want to be patriotic to not only their country, but to the world. I love the Olympics. I love everything they stand for.

Michael PhelpsAs a Canadian, the Winter Olympics are more exciting to me. They’re more exciting for our country, simply because we have more participants and know we have an actual shot at absolutely everything. Plus, they have ice hockey. BUT…even as a Canadian, I have so many childhood memories that come from the Summer Olympics. I remember going into my Uncle’s pool with my cousins, all of us pretending to be Michael Phelps. That was the Summer Olympics of 2004 and 2008. I would have been around age 9 and 13. Almost 10 years later, I am watching Michael Phelps again, with my goggles in hand, bursting to use a pool. It’s not just for kids and it’s not just for adults. The Olympics are for everyone, and how they inspire people, never goes away.

I’m an actor, fully trained. I could never be an Olympic athlete. But even in my early twenties, I’m still considering what sports I could start right now that would give me a shot at going to the Olympics. Archery? There’s no age limit on that one. As a kid, I wondered and wanted to know what it would be like to stand on that podium and hear your national anthem play as the flag of your country raises. I still wonder that as an adult, and always will. The Olympics fill me with such hope, happiness and curiosity, it’s amazing. It’s a shame they only happen every two years, because I think the Olympics brings a fresh wave of positivity to the world, every single time.

Greek ChampionTo make it even more exciting, we are watching history be made right in front of our eyes. In 100 years, these will be the records in text books. These Summer Olympics have already broken a huge amount of records. From Figi winning their first medal, to the numerous records Canadian and American athletes have broken or created. My personal favorite though, truly is, Michael Phelps breaking the record from 152 B.C. That’s a 2168 year old record from Greek athlete Leonidas of Rhodes, who until Phelps, held the record for the Olympic athlete who had won the most Gold medals. Phelps passed this record with his Gold win on Thursday, August 11 for the 200 metre individual medley. CRAZY!! THAT OLD OF A RECORD!! It was made during the B.C. era!!

So, Phelps race is coming up and he says it’ll be his last. Part of me doesn’t believe this, as he said it after London but then came back, and he also missed one Gold these Olympics for a Silver. He seems like the type of guy to come back just because of that. However, he will be around 36 by the next Games (means dying in athlete world) but more importantly, has a child and a fiancé, soon to be wife. In case after 5 Olympics, he truly is done, I am going to sit here ready to watch live history in the making. I’ll be able to tell my kids one day, I saw Michael Phelps race and it was like nothing else.

So, I will continue watching these Olympics and every Olympics, crying Rio_2016with the athletes as they start to cry of disbelief on the podium. I’m extremely proud of the Canadian athletes as they are representing my country, but truly, I am proud of ALL the athletes, for putting work and effort into something so beautiful and good.



UPDATE: MICHAEL PHELPS WINS GOLD for the 4X100m Medley Relay! Congrats to him, Nathan Adrian (a personal favorite of mine), Ryan Murphy and Cody Miller. I was standing on my couch the entire time, waving my arms. After the race, Phelps took a moment to himself and then waved to the crowd, a sign that this may truly be the end. So glad he went out as deserved, in GOLD.