TIDBITS & FIT-BYTES: Olympic Withdrawal

Mary Van de Velde

TIDBITS & FIT-BYTES: Olympic Withdrawal
by Mary Van De Velde

It’s the Monday after the Olympics and I find myself waiting for the music “dum, da, da , da, da, da, da….dum, da, da, da…” The Olympic theme is no more, so I guess it’s back to watching “Bachelor in Paradise.” I will miss staring at Bob Costas and the weird way he was standing while previewing the night’s events. Is it me, or did one pant’s leg always look bigger than the other?

Anyway, I’m definitely having withdrawal from watching the competitions for two weeks straight. Not only was I watching prime time coverage, but I was watching qualifying heats and rounds in the afternoon! I was addicted. I decided to watch things I normally wouldn’t, like badminton (I could never see the birdie it was so fast), rugby (how are they all not concussed?), synchronized swimming (how do they keep their toes pointed without cramping up in the water), and women’s weightlifting (could we please get some different uniforms besides the onesies that show every roll and muscle imaginable?) Yikes!

I tried to catch as much cycling as possible since my cousin Christian was doing the commentary and what a great job he did, even though the only thing people will remember is when Dutch cyclist Annemiek Van Vleuten had a severe crash at 40 mph down a dangerous hill. Horrifying!

I was not happy when everyone said the Olympics were over once the swimming and gymnastics were done (even though Ryan Lochte managed to keep swimmers in the news for the rest of the games). No more watching the swimmers do their seal claps before each race and the divers take their showers in between dives. (found out later, that’s for keeping muscles warm and washing the green chlorine off of them, haha).

Yes!! – it’s on to track and field, where finally Americans came through in distance races! In both marathons, Americans beat some of the Kenyans and Ethiopians (always the best runners). Gaylen Rupp got the bronze and Shalane Flanagan (6th), Desiree Linden (7th), and Amy Craig (9th) had a strong showing from the women. While everyone was watching Usain Bolt flash his lightning symbol, I was busy catching Evan Jager from Algonquin capture the silver in the steeplechase, which I found myself explaining to everyone what it actually is and no, it’s not a horse race, but the race where runners go over hurdles with a water puddle underneath,

The track athletes seemed to encounter more hurdles when part of the track included a moat -like structure between the track and the stands. It was agonizing watching exhausted athletes try to get to their coaches or families to get a hug or grab a homeland flag to wrap around them. One runner, gold medal 1500 meter winner Matthew Centrowitz tried to hug his father and coach in the stands. They’re so close he even has a “Like Father, Like Son” tattoo on his chest since his father was a former Olympian who lost the 1500 in 1976.

One of my favorite stories came from the women’s 4X100 meter relay. U.S. Runner English Gardner couldn’t find her running spike right before the race and had to borrow one from veteran runner Allyson Felix. Even though they were a half-size bigger and custom built for Felix, Gardner wore them and they still won gold! I am SO going to miss the Olympics! It was TRUE Reality TV!