Sunday, July 29, 2012

Opening Ceremony

Emily and Kristi Yamaguchi
As a young girl I intensely watched every Olympic Games.  I remember watching the likes of Kristi Yamaguchi and Bonnie Blair in the winter games and of course the Magnificent Seven gymnast in the Atlanta summer games.  These women inspired my sister and I.  We would skate around in our socks on the hard wood floor and would complete our ‘triple axels’ and our ‘double loops.’  We created beam routines and attempted to emulate different skills each of the gymnasts completed.  Those two weeks every two years were some of the most inspiring for me as a young child. 

Emily and Bonnie Blair
I was a gymnast growing up and every year my gym would have an Olympic Festival where we would get the opportunity to walk in our own Opening Ceremony.  Each group was given a different nations flag.  We created our Olympic garb and represented our select countries as we followed our flag into the gym.  I remember always being somewhat disappointed that my group was never selected to carry the American flag, but was always excited to recreate our version of the Olympics.  Little did I know that close to a decade later I would finally have the opportunity to follow our flag in an actual Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.  As I watched the athletes walk on Friday in the London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony I could not help but remember all the emotions I felt over two years ago in Vancouver. 

Emily at the Vancouver Opening Ceremony
I often get asked what the experience was like and to be honest there are really no words to describe it.  The Olympic movement is something greater than the individuals involved and for me that was the first time I realized that I was a part of something bigger than me.  As I laid in bed after that night I tried to decompress from the excitement, but all that went through my head was ‘that was so worth it.’  Everything that happened up to that point for me was part of my path to the Olympic Games.  None of it was easy, but making an Olympic Team should not be easy.  That was the moment I decided that after Vancouver I would try to fight to earn one more chance to have that same experience

Over the next couple weeks I will be glued to the television watching these Olympic Games just like I did as a child.  Maybe I won’t skate around or complete any gymnastic moves, but I will watch and continue to be inspired by all the athletes fulfilling their dreams to compete in the Olympic Games.