I'm excited today, because the 2012 London Olympic Games are one year away. The Opening Ceremony is one year from today. 366 days (because 2012 is a leap year - hey, I'm here to educate you) and a few hours. I will be watching. I will probably cry. (If you know me at all, you know I will.)
Last year I wrote about London and it seemed so far away. Now we're nearly there and my view of the Olympic Games is the same.I wrote about one of my favorite Olympic stories, which was not about a gold medal or a podium finish. It was about a swimmer who overcame the struggles of training without a pool. To me, his story is what the Olympic Movement is all about: chances, struggle, succeeding.
Believe it or not, the Olympic Movement and spirit is in all of us, all the time. I wrote a story for today about how the Olympic ideals of excellence, respect and friendship are in age group triathletes all the time.
And they are in you too, even if sports aren't your thing. From relationships with family and friends to our jobs to any of our other personal goals, we rely on excellence, respect and friendship to pull us through and make us the best that we can be.
I have had a long time love for the Olympic Games. And honestly, sometimes that brings disappointment.
If you know my story, you know that I consider myself lucky enough to have snagged an internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee back in 2008. It was the only internship I applied for. If I hadn't gotten an internship with the USOC that summer, my plan was to go to grad school. I'm so grateful for how life has turned out for me, because I moved rather seamlessly from internship to full-time job. I didn't like my first job, and I will be honest about that. And again, I was lucky when I was able to move into my new position. It suits me.
I was pumped when Chicago was up for the 2016 Olympic Games. They didn't win the bid, and what's more is they were out in the first round. It hurt. I wanted to see another Olympic Games on American soil. Maybe you disagree. Sure, it'll happen again someday. But I had high hopes for Chicago.
I have had high hopes for myself, too. Twice now I have applied to be a Young Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games. Twice I have failed. That's how I see it. I failed. There were very complimentary things said in the phone calls I got to let me know someone else had been selected. But I wasn't going to Singapore or Austria. Because I will be older than 25 in 2014, I won't be eligible for this opportunity again.
And a question I am asked most often when I explain what I do: "So are you going to London?" I like to be honest with you, so I will tell you now, I'm not going. I'm not going for my job, I'm not going to volunteer, I'm not going on my own as a spectator. It just isn't in the cards this time around. Am I disappointed? You bet. Does it change my love for the Olympic Games and the admiration I have for everything they stand for? No way.
Olympic athletes spend their lives and entire athletic careers seeking Olympic glory. They experience setbacks, and they keep going. They might lose their funding, experience a debilitating injury or miss qualifying by hundredths of seconds. They still keep going.
Life doesn't always work out the way you hope it will, even if you try planning very hard. Sometimes, things work out another way. But that doesn't mean you should stop trying.
Maybe you're not as excited for the London Olympic Games as I am, but if you watch for the stories of the athletes trying to make the Olympic team, I have no doubt that you will be amazed at their struggles and what they have overcome to compete for a chance to say they are Olympians.
366 days, London. I'm ready.