I've always been a fan of the Olympics.
I love the excitement of watching these spectacular athletes represent the United States. I love hearing about the discipline and the sacrifice that it took for them to hone their craft. I even love the ridiculous over-dramatic vignettes about their lives, always about overcoming some obstacle, accompanied by the motivational music.
I freakin' love it.
I remember being a little kid and seeing Mary Lou Retton on the front of every cereal box. I remember the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding debacle. I remember the original Dream Team. I remember when Flo-Jo was the "fastest woman of all time." When Greg Louganis smacked his head on the diving board. When Bela Karolyi hollered, "you can do it Kerri!" and she did.
Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, it doesn't matter. I get caught up in all of it.
Summer 2008 was Sadira's very first Olympics. She was 9 months old and already a fan of U.S. swimming.
(Baby Sadie says, "Can't wait for London in four more years!")
It was so exciting that year, because Baltimore native Michael Phelps went 8 for 8 in gold medals...amazing!! Even cooler, I was at M&T Bank Stadium for a Ravens pre-season game with Amanda and my sister Neda when he won his 8th gold, and they broadcasted it LIVE on the jumbotrons.
Celebrating Michael's success with 70,000 of my closest friends!
So naturally, this year we were excited to see if Michael would break the record and become the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Of course I was surprised that I did get a little caught up in the Ryan Lochte phenomenon, but I was MOST surprised that Sadira became so wrapped up in the games. From the Opening Ceremonies, to the Closing Ceremonies, to every sport in between, Sadira begged to watch the Olympics every night when we came home. Her favorite sports were gymnastics, swimming, and track.
Here are some of the highlights of London 2012....
GO MICHAEL GO!!!!!
Sadira was so inspired by Michael's performance, we had our own series of races in the tub. In this clip, Sadira has just won her third gold medal in the 4m IM. This was her post swim interview...(she had obviously been studying the swimmers)
Receiving her gold medal on the podium:
We then focused our attention on gymnastics...and practiced our own skills...
My cartwheel (I swear I have all my limbs...and a head.)
Cheering on the US women's gymnasts, and knocking #42 off our summer list (Play sidewalk chalk)
We found out Princess Aurora is actually a pretty skillful gymnast:
And discovered Sadie's main goal in every Olympic competition was to beat the Russians...especially Aliya Mustafina, her imaginary arch-nemesis...
Next came track and field competitions...
...and this is what happens in my house when the races came on:
(notice how she says "I hope the Russians don't beat me!" near the end)
Finally, on the last day of competition, we created our own BMX track...in the living room.
All in all, it was a pretty memorable Olympics. Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history, but overall the US Women athletes DOMINATED...from the breakout performance of Missy Franklin (and her five medals), to the Fab Five (or maybe they're called Fierce Five now?) winning the first team gold in gymnastics since the Magnificent Seven, to Misty May and Kerri Walsh winning their THIRD gold, to the US women's soccer team winning their FOURTH, to Allyson Felix winning her THIRD gold with the US women's relay team, to MD native 15 year old Katie Ledecky (and youngest member of the US Olympic team) winning her own GOLD.
It was truly the year of the lady. It was the year of the Golden Girls. And I'm glad my mini-girl got to witness such awesome girl power.
I hope she enjoys the Winter Games as much as she's enjoyed the Summer Games. And while she's already talking about who she wants to come back in Rio 2016 (Missy! Ryan! Gabby!) all I keep thinking is..."oh my Lord, she'll be EIGHT during the next Summer Olympics!"
In the meantime, we're going through a little Olympic withdrawal...missing the games, and the fun that came along with cheering on our athletes.
Thankfully football season is just beginning. :-)