Simone and Simone
Sometimes it is hard for me to root for the country with the largest contingent of athletes going against tiny little David’s but within the massive number of US Athletes, little stories become big.
Simone Biles proved that she was the best female gymnast in the world and did it in such a fashion that she’ll be talked about for years if not decades. Many times you end up seeing heartbreak but this time, the podium was exactly as I hoped with Biles on top and Aly Raisman right next to her. Aly getting the redemption she was searching for when they wouldn’t honor the tie for Bronze in London. Biles getting the biggest prize after three years of dominating her sport.
Simone Manuel won her swimming match in exhilarating fashion beating the two Aussie sisters. I have to admit I was rooting for the sisters to stand on the podium together but it turned out they weren’t even a medal factor, so if history was going to be made, I’m glad that Simone Manuel was the one making it, becoming the first black American swimmer to win an individual race.
I’ve always been struck by how a simple swimming cap makes everyone look the same no matter the race or ethnicity, but once you take the cap off, each person regains their individuality.
I’m still sad for Mara Abbott who did everything possible to medal in the road race only to have her legs give out seconds away after six hours of herculean biking. I can’t even imagine what that felt like for her at the end. Yet, for every Mara, there is 43-year-old Kristen Armstrong winning an improbable gold medal in the time trial.
With almost a week in, the Rio Olympics have once again provided me and my wife with hours of entertainment. It inexplicably makes me root for Goliath against multiple Davids because their stories are our stories.
I’ve never understood what makes an Olympic athlete tick, the ridiculous amount of sacrifice they make to be the best at their sport, but I’m glad they are out there. Smiles of relief, mixed in with either tears of joy, or tears of heartbreak, they make me smile, cry, and grimace, and it is good to feel something.