For the Love of Sport

It’s been a while. And rightfully so. My duties for Addicted to Quack and Elite Daily have made it so that I have less time to hone my creativity on here. We  are now in the midst of summer and baseball is the only sport left swinging.

Just around the corner lies one of my favorite spectacles in all of sport: the Olympics, and most notably, the summer Olympics. I am forever tied to my track days and I make no effort to hide my loyalties. The summer Olympics has always held a special place in my heart, largely because of the time of year. I’ve always been averse to the cold and to indoor sports in general. Those may remain in the summer, but it just has a different flair. This summer in Rio will be a time capsule enclosed with historical significance. Michael Phelps will be competing in his last Olympics. The most decorated Olympian of all time will hang up the speedo? Is that something one hangs up? Phelps is expected to be back at his best after qualifying for his fifth Olympics and dealing with his demons out of water. Phelps has gone to rehab multiple times for his alcohol dependency but is now back with a vengeance and in love with the sport again. This news should send ripples to even the casual fan, as he basically told sports media that his heart wasn’t in it in 2012, and he missed countless training sessions even within the Olympic year.

Phelps’ resurgence may not be the only captivating story line. Usain Bolt looks to cement his legacy as the greatest track athlete of all time and who knows how much gas he has left in the tank. Twenty-nine doesn’t sound old but the other side of 30 is ancient in sprinting years. Bolt holds world records in both the 100 (9.58) and 200 (19.19) and holds six gold medals in all. But will this be the last year Bolt pulls off the triple threat (100, 200 4×100)? I’ve never been one to second guess an athlete in his prime and I won’t start now. How much better Bolt is, and how much less energy he has to expend than everyone else may truly mean his 33 in the next Olympics may still be another runner’s 25.

I’ve barely scratched the surface but I’m excited for it all. Bolt, Phelps, beach and regular volleyball alike, basketball, water polo, and whatever else I can feast my eyes on. The older I get the more in awe I am of not just these athletes’ physical prowess and raw athleticism but of their dedication and patience. No matter how athletic, four years between events would kill me. Yes, I understand they have world championships and similar events to keep them busy. In the eyes of the public, dominating on a world stage for four years means you dominated on one stage–the Olympics. Everything else is hogwash. Knowledge of how short pro careers are should do well to inhibit this type of thinking and serve to help us celebrate the scope of achievements we witness, both in feats of jaw-dropping skill and of longevity.

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